In the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders lost a home game that they could have won in Game 3. They responded by tying the series at 2-2 with a home win in Game 4. The Isles capitalized on their opportunities to win a road Game 5 in which they were outplayed. And in Game 6 back at Nassau Coliseum, they continued to capitalize on mistakes and rode the wave of the crowd to a series victory.
In the second round against the Boston Bruins, the New York Islanders lost a home game that they could have won in Game 3. They responded by tying the series at 2-2 with a home win in Game 4. The Isles capitalized on their opportunities to win a road Game 5 in which they were outplayed. And in Game 6...
Well, they still have to write that chapter. But the Islanders are in good shape right now.
That being said, the Bruins are dangerous. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron can change a game even when J-G Pageau and company play them to a draw. Fortunately, Barry Trotz will be able to maximize the Pageau-Bergeron matchup back at the Coliseum with the last change.
There is plenty of work to be done—and the Islanders know that the clincher is the hardest game to win.
Islanders vs. Bruins Playoff News
Recaps and notes from the Isles’ pleasing Game 5 victory:
- Five different Islanders scored in the win, including Brock Nelson, whose 5-2 goal early in the third period on Jeremy Swayman proved to be the difference. [LHH]
- Barry Trotz gave some thoughtful answers in his post-game press conference and did not have much to say to Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy’s comments (see below).
“You win games in different ways and this group has learned that over the course of the playoffs. But to get the fourth one is the toughest game. Boston is going to bring their A-game, we’re going to have to bring our A-game, and we’ll just leave it at that.”— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 8, 2021
Trotz ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/MU5vDQKmPW
- Mathew Barzal is heating up, and the power play, normally powerless, converted on three out of four chances. [Islanders 5 Takeaways]
- And the “unflappable” Islanders withstood the Bruins’ third-period push. [Newsday]
- It had to have been a crazy game for your goalie to be a hero even when he gives up four goals. But only the David Krejci goal could be described as “soft”; Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves, including some, as John Forslund loves to say, “dandies.” [NHL]
- Trotz noticed that the Bruins were targeting the Nelson line with the Perfection Line, so he sent out Pageau with Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey and put Nelson with Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri. And it worked swimmingly. Also, he called timeout with just over five minutes remaining, right after Krejci pulled the Bruins within one, and the Isles conceded only two shots-on-goal from there. An in-game adjustments king. [The Athletic]
- Some quick notes about the game, including Scott Mayfield’s rage after Nick Ritchie elbowed him in the head. [Newsday]
- WATCH! Speaking of which, Bruce Cassidy lost his cool in the post-game press conference, calling the Islanders the “New York Saints” (a real lacrosse team of yesteryear that played in the Coliseum). But the Bruins have only themselves to blame for the loss. The video of Cassidy’s whining is halfway down the article. [Sportsnet]
- LOOK! Some photos from the game, as well. [Newsday]
- The Bruins pulled Tuukka Rask to start the third period after he conceded four goals on 16 shots, citing injury concerns. But he will be good to go for Game 6, most likely. [NHL]
- The Bruins also made Jake DeBrusk a healthy scratch in favor of Karson Kuhlman. DeBrusk has been fined once this series and has struggled otherwise. [NHL]
- Neil Best is a columnist, and columnists, even more so than reporters, need to find narratives for their stories—if you have been listening to the Island Ice recaps, he would tell you the same thing. But, he says, maybe winning their second Game 5 this season, despite being outplayed badly in both, is a sign of something special. [Newsday]
- Remember when the Islanders went like 30 years without winning a Game 5? They are 4-1 in Games 5 under Trotz. [NYI Skinny]
- LISTEN! Andrew Gross is joined by Newsday colleagues Best and Colin Stephenson to recap Game 5. [Island Ice Ep. 96]
- Did I mention that I love this team?
Onto some non-recap (and even non-playoff) news:
- Game 6 will be Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. EDT at the Coliseum. [Islanders]
- The Islanders are a veteran team, which helps in high-leverage situations. But the mere fact that they’re veterans also brings a sense of urgency—they’re not getting younger. [Best @ Newsday]
- Zajac knows this, too. He was happy to join a veteran team after being the old guy on a young team with the New Jersey Devils, and his value is showing in this series. [Newsday]
- Great news: Anders Lee took the ice and skated during the Isles’ optional morning skate yesterday. Trotz insists that he will not be ready until September, but still great to see. [Newsday]
- The Bridgeport Islanders (I guess we will start calling them the B-Islanders?) will play 72 games this season, a number that the AHL wants to mandate league-wide. [CT Post]
Beyond Long Island and New England
One other game last night: The Winnipeg Jets, on the brink, forced overtime despite being badly outshot, but rookie Cole Caufield teed up Tyler Toffoli less than two minutes into the extra frame to finish off the sweep by the Montreal Canadiens and send them to the Stanley Cup semifinal. The Habs will await the winner of the Vegas Golden Knights and Colorado Avalanche.
- The Canadiens have earned some respect with their unified effort. Also, despite their game not being very entertaining, they are pretty damn likable. [Sportsnet]
- With the Carolina Hurricanes facing elimination at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game 5, they may have back Nino Niederreiter, who has missed the series thus far with an upper-body injury. [NHL]