Varlamov earns shutout as Islanders hand Jets 3rd straight loss

Semyon Varlamov picked up his second shutout of the season with a 23-save effort and the New York Islanders handed the Jets their third straight loss, 4-0 on Sunday in Winnipeg.

Newly acquired Niederreiter awaits Winnipeg debut

A male ice hockey goaltender makes a blocker save with his right hand while down on both knees as two players battle for position in front of the net.
Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov makes a blocker save as Jets' Sam Gagner (89) battles in front of the net with Scott Mayfield during the second period of New York's 4-0 win on Sunday in Winnipeg. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press)

Semyon Varlamov would not allow his lack of work in the first period to distract him from the job at hand.

The Islanders netminder faced only one shot in the first frame on his way to a 23-save shutout — his second of the season — to backstop New York to 4-0 victory over the Jets — their third straight loss — on Sunday afternoon in Winnipeg.

"Sometimes, it's easy, sometimes, it's very, very hard," Varlamov said. "It depends on how you mentally prepare for the game. I was very hungry to play today so, for me, it wasn't very hard to stay sharp."

He was actually expecting to face a lot more pucks.

"We expected them to jump in right away," Varlamov said. "They're a hard team to play against here in their home arena. They always come out really hard and they always play a very strong first period and stuff like that.

"We knew this was coming and that's why we were really prepared and then, everybody was ready to play from the first minute and I thought that was the key of the game. We didn't give up much in the first period. We scored first and that was the key."

Bo Horvat, with a short-handed goal, Alexander Romanov, Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech, into an empty net, scored for New York (31-25-7).

WATCH | Horvat scores 4th short-handed goal of season:

Horvat scores 4th short-handed goal of season as Islanders blank Jets

3 months ago
Duration 0:50
Winnipeg falls to New York 4-0 for their third consecutive loss. Bo Horvat opens the scoring with his 36th goal of the campaign.

David Rittich stopped 20-of-23 shots for Winnipeg (35-24-1) before 13,797 fans at Canada Life Centre.

"[Varlamov] just stays solid," Nelson said. "He's the kind of guy who just goes out there and works hard and never says anything. Even in practice, he's always solid. He's a good teammate and to see him go out there and get a shutout — a big one for us — and be a rock for us was huge."

Horvat's goal in the first period sparked the Isles.

"The short-handed goal was big, there's no doubt about it," said Islanders coach Lane Lambert. "They have a very good power play over there and, to come out of that period with the lead having been short-handed, was helpful for us."

'We can't be a fragile team right now'

The Jets fell to 20-10-0 at home this season.

"It just wasn't good enough," said Jets defenceman Josh Morrissey. "We need to be better in the first periods, we need to be better off the start, and we can't be a fragile team right now. I'm not saying that we are, but we certainly can't fall into that mode.

"We're an aggressive team. We have to be able to make plays, make passes and not just panic because we're going through a little bit of a rut.

"I thought we got better at that throughout the game so, although it's a tough loss on the scoreboard, there were a lot of things that we did well in the second and third, things that we're going to try and build off. I mean, there's no use being negative this time of year. We've got 20-some games left. We've got to stay positive and confident in our group and continue to move forward."

The Jets have scored only nine goals in their last six games.

"We all gotta figure it out," said centre Pierre-Luc Dubois. "We're not playing good hockey right now. But, at the same time, we can turn this around and turn it into a positive.

"We just gotta get going. Time's running out. There's not a lot of games left, relatively. But everybody in this room is going to have to talk about it and figure it out."

Niederreiter awaits Jets debut

Newly acquired Jet Nino Niederreiter did not dress for Sunday's contest against the Islanders. Niederreiter was addressing a visa issue, so the Jets recalled forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby.

The Jets will host the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.

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