Varlamov makes 25 saves, Islanders harm Rangers playoff hopes in shutout

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NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves for his NHL-leading sixth shutout of the season, and the New York Islanders kept pace in the MassMutual East Division playoff race with a 4-0 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

It was Varlamov’s third shutout against the Rangers this season, each at the Garden. He made 24 saves in a 4-0 win on Jan. 14, and 30 saves in a 2-0 victory on Feb. 8. 

Leo Komarov scored his first goal of the season for the Islanders (30-15-5), who had lost three in a row.

Igor Shesterkin made 23 saves for the Rangers (26-19-6), who failed to gain ground in the East and saw their three-game winning streak end.

The teams play for the final time in the regular season at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday. The Islanders have won five of seven against the Rangers this season. 

Komarov, a healthy scratch the past two games, scored with a far-side one-timer from the right circle at 6:27 of the first period to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead. It was his first regular-season goal since Feb. 21, 2020.

Oliver Wahlstrom extended the lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal off a short-side wrist shot from the top of the left circle at 12:39.

Anthony Beauvillier scored from the right hash marks to make it 3-0 Islanders at 1:03 of the second period.

Mathew Barzal scored for the first time in 13 games with an empty-net goal after coming out of the penalty box at 14:26 of the third for the 4-0 final. The Rangers pulled Shesterkin during the power play to create a 6-on-4 advantage.

Chris Kreider (maintenance) missed his first game of the season for the Rangers. 

Ryan Lindgren left the game after the defenseman was injured when he crashed headfirst into the curved glass at the end of the Rangers bench at 4:30 of the third period.

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