Islanders Edge: Isles drop season finale to Hall, Bruins in overtime
photo credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
An up-and-down regular season for the New York Islanders came to a close on Monday night in Boston. For the Isles, recently, things haven’t been going as well as they had been against the B’s. With regular-season losses in their most recent meetings with Boston on April 15th and 16th, the blue and orange combined for just one goal in 120 minutes of play. They looked for a different result tonight but unfortunately didn’t get it.
A chippy first period found Boston up 1-0 after a Taylor Hall power-play goal. The Bruins dove around and found the refs on their side. Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins got a taste of their own medicine in the second frame when the Isles struck on a four-on-three man advantage. Oliver Wahlstrom sent a rocket past Tuukka Rask for his twelfth goal of the season. Mathew Barzal (28) and Nick Leddy (29) picked up assists.
6:15 into the second frame, Brad Marchand tapped in David Krejci’s perfect feed, giving the black and gold a 2-1 lead. 2:16 later, Barzal sniped one past Rask for his seventeenth goal of the season, tying the game at two. Ryan Pulock (15) and Anthony Beauvillier (13) picked up assists.
New York’s netminder Semyon Varlamov was having himself a great night and kept his team in the game. For precautionary reasons, Varlamov would not return to the game in the third. After the game, when asked about the decision to remove Varly from the game, Isles head catch Barry Trotz said, “Varlamov had a little strain. He could have finished, but we opted to go the safe route. If it was a playoff game, he would have finished.” Of course, with the departure of Varlamov, young stud Russian goaltender Ilya Sorokin got the nod from Trotz. Under extremely short notice, “The White Whale” did his job and looked fantastic.
For seeding purposes, with around two minutes remaining, Trotz decided to play with an empty net. With just under ten seconds remaining, Marchand missed the wide-open cage by just a few inches.
Up until he was pulled, Sorokin made key saves. He was beat by Hall’s highlight real overtime winner, 2:53 into the extra session. Krejci and Mike Reilly picked up assists. Boston took the final game of the season series 3-2.
The shot count would suggest that New York was brutally outplayed, but that wasn’t the case. Their showing was much better than what we have seen in the last couple of weeks, and they are starting to look like a team that might have a nice little playoff run in them. The heart is certainly there. Leo Komarov, Brock Nelson, Ross Johnston, and Noah Dobson getting into the heads of Bruins players was a perfect example of that.
Despite dropping their last three games to the Bruins, New York took the season series 5-3. They finished the season 32-17-7, good for 71 points and a fourth-place finish in the MassMutual East Division.
Win or lose, after the game went into overtime, seeding was determined. The Islanders will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs, with the Bruins set to face off against the Washington Capitals.
With the postseason looming, the Islanders need to hold onto some aspects of their game and vastly improve others. Regardless, the future is still bright, and Cup hopes are still alive.
Game one between the Isles and Pens is still to be determined but will take place in Pittsburgh.