The New York Rangers are looking for answers during their recent slide and Tuesday night doesn’t get any easier.
New York’s inability to finish excellent scoring chances against good goaltenders will be put to the test against their arch-nemesis and a goaltender they haven’t been able to solve.
Semyon Varlamov has been in the league for 15 years, with the last four coming with the New York Islanders. During that time, Varlamov has been very impressive. Sporting a 50-44-12 record with a .918% save percentage, Varlamov has helped the Islanders reach the conference finals in two of the last three seasons.
Part of his dominance doesn’t just come in the playoff, but against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers are on a five-game scoreless streak against Varlamov at MSG with the former all-star averaging over 26.8 saves per game.
In contrast, Blueshirts’ goaltender Igor Shesterkin has just a 1-6-1 record against the Islanders and 0-5 at home. While the goaltending battle will be a key point in Tuesday night’s battle, it also highlights the main issues the Rangers have gone through on the offensive end.
While the team has four players in the top 10 of scoring chances across the league, New York has scored just the third least goals in the entire Metro division. The Islanders are ranked as the top-scoring offense in their division.
The Rangers can rightfully be concerned about their previous work, or lack thereof against Semyon Varlamov. Their offense has been the bigger issue going into a very important regular season game against the rival Islanders.
In October’s 3-0 loss at UBS Arena, the Rangers tallied over 40 shots against Ilya Sorokin. It didn’t matter though because Sorokin showed why he’s one of the best in the NHL to this point. It won’t get any easier in front of the home crowd against a player who has owned the Rangers in the last few years.