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Islanders vs. Bruins Gameday News: New York seeks clincher, Boston seeks survival

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Game 6 beckons with a chance for the Islanders to win a spot in the semifinal at Nassau Coliseum.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders - Game Four
MORE LIKE THIS PLEASE.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New York Islanders have been to the Stanley Cup semifinal just twice since the dynasty came to an end in 1984 after 19 consecutive playoff series wins.

In 1993, they earned their return with the Dave Volek Game 7 winner over the Penguins, delightfully silencing Pittsburgh and ensuring that franchise not get a three-peat.

Last summer, they clinched their way in the Pandemic Playoff Bubble, rebounding from overtime losses in Games 5 and 6 to knock off the Flyers in Game 7 in Toronto, where anyone who’s seen the Leafs win a playoff series is all grown up and paying bills.

So tonight’s Game 6 is a rare — and final — chance for the Isles to reach this milepost in front of the fans at Nassau Coliseum, the setting of so many epic memories over the years, interrupted by the long fallow periods that nearly did this franchise in.

It’s tempting to think the Isles must do it tonight, that if the series shifts back to Boston for a winner-take-all then all the “momentum” will be in the Bruins’ hands. We know that’s not literally true, however; the Isles won in Boston just the other night despite another first-period blitz. And it was just a couple of years ago that the Bruins won a road Game 6 to force the Stanley Cup final back to Boston, where {checks recordbook} turns out they lost, and Brad Marchand cried.

So, to reiterate, because we need this reminder when every in-game moment sends our brains spiraling through the spectrum of possibilities from devastation to elation: It’s not over if the Isles don’t pull it off tonight. It’s just that it would be really, really sweet if they did.

The Coliseum ghosts would approve.

Islanders-Bruins News

  • Bruce Cassidy, who is coach of the Angelic and Victimized Bruins, was fined $25,000 (that’s like five Krejci spears!) for his officiating rant. Asked about it, he said he thought he was being “respectful” during the rant where he called the referees “good guys but awful.” [LHH]
  • Barry Trotz knows the Islanders have to be better than they were in Game 5, which they won through resilience, power play goals, and a narrative they’re selling. [NHL]
  • That said, the resilience they’ve showed after repeatedly giving up the opening goal sure helps. [Isles]
  • It should be electric tonight but the fourth win is the hardest. [Post | Newsday]
  • Tuukka Rask, who left Game 5 due to injury, is still questionable for tonight. If he doesn’t play and the Bruins lose, Boston’s best and brightest fans will be gracious I’m sure. [NHL]
  • Bruce Boudreau says that’s nonsense, surely Rask will be back in between the pipes. [NHL]
  • Despite early goals and four goals in Game 5, Semyon Varlamov continues to impress. [Newsday]
  • Josh Bailey is stepping up again. [Post]
  • Cassidy’s rant and “New York Saints” thing creates one more reason for Coliseum fans to be on top of their game, but mainly it’s because one of these nights (including possibly tonight) it will be curtains for the Coliseum. [Post]
  • Prompted by that rant, Neil Best catches up wit a real New York Saint, former lacrosse goalie Sal LoCascio. [Newsday]
  • Desperate? Bitter? Strategic? Cassidy’s doing something with all of this. [AM NY]
  • But the Bruins only have themselves to blame, not the refs, for losing Game 5. [Sportsnet]
  • In a shocking development for a format that requires a team win four games to advance, the Bruins insist the series isn’t over. [Globe]

Within the Family

  • The Sound Tigers Bridgeport Islanders announced their home opener and some additional home dates. [CT Post]
  • Speaking of which, Bobby Nystrom is optimistic about the big club and the rebranded AHL club. [CT Post]

Elsewhere

In the only game last night, the Golden Knights overturned a third-period 2-0 deficit to win early in overtime and take a 3-2 lead over the Avalanche.

  • Bad news for the next round: The Lightning shut out the Hurricanes to finish off that series, and ensure that the Isles and Bruins are now playing for a chance to face the reigning champs. [NHL]
  • Game 4 key goal scorer and would-be cap casualty Tyler Johnson was waived twice and healthy scratched this season but hasn’t complained a bit. [Athletic]
  • Nazem Kadri’s appeal of his eight-game suspension was denied. When reached for comment, Bruce Cassidy said it’s because of a narrative the Islanders are selling. [NHL]
  • The Habs have a few days before they find out, so which semifinal opponent should they prefer? [Sportsnet]
  • Two Athletic stories about how Vegas is actually dominating Colorado, despite the closeness and weird early outcomes in that series. [Jesse Grainger: Relentless forecheck | That Dom guy: Dominating n stuff]
  • He’s not going anywhere (yet), so here are the highs and lows of moves Jim Benning has made in seven seasons at the helm of the Canucks. [Sportsnet]
  • The Canadian government has made a border exception for NHLers only, infuriating other athletes, like those who make a lot less but represent the flag in the Olympics. [Sportsnet]