Islanders Edge: Isles survive Bruins’ 3rd period surge, victorious in overtime
photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Game two between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins was nothing short of an intense one. For the Isles, this game was pretty close to must-win. For the Bruins, it was basically a series clincher. Needing a split headed back to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Barry Trotz’s Isles cringed when the Bruins scored just 2:38 into the game. While Charlie Coyle’s goal didn’t exactly help the Isles, who sought a fast start from puck drop, they would not let it get to them and responded fairly well.
The Islanders went to the power-play early into the second period. Josh Bailey played the puck, which pinballed past Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. After multiple high danger chances, the Isles finally got on the board.
They were not done after the Bailey goal, though. Kyle Palmieri jammed one past Rask, and that was followed by Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s power-play goal on a beautiful feed from Anthony Beauvillier.
Mathew Barzal and the top line generated many chances throughout the night but just couldn’t finish.
Headed into the third period with a 3-1 lead, Trotz and the Isles knew how dangerous the Bruins’ offense was - it was just a matter of shutting them down and not taking their foot off the gas.
For the first half of the third period, New York did exactly that. However, the second period was vastly different. Patrice Bergeron made the score 3-2 just after the halfway mark of period three. The Bruins went to the power-play within five and a half minutes remaining in the third frame. Brad Marchand tied the game at three, making the story of the third period different than what the Isles initially had tried to write.
Late in the third, Mike Reilly was sent to the penalty box for playing the puck with a broken stick. The penalty was killed by Boston, and overtime was forced.
Overtime featured multiple chances for both teams and a great save by Semyon Varlamov. New York’s fourth line played a step ahead all night and was rewarded for that after Jeremy Lauzon made a blind pass off of Coyle’s skate.
Casey Cizikas got a breakaway and beat Tuukka Rask with a snipe, tying the series at one apiece. It’s not at all how you draw it up, but a win is a win, and the Isles are going home with some momentum.
The Isles’ bench reaction was priceless, and everyone was overjoyed in their postgame interviews. This 3-2 victory was as close to a must-win as you’ll find in the playoffs without being on the brink of elimination. For now, the boys in blue and orange are golden. Another massive test comes on Thursday night, where one of these teams will take a 2-1 series lead. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM Eastern Team.