By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @dairybeast
Two games down and heading to the Island, the series is tied up at one game apiece. Our NHL 21 simulation is one for two this series at predicting who the winner of the game will be, so let’s see who they think will grab the 2-1 series lead in game three!
I changed around the lines for this one to try and more closely reflect the lines the teams actually are using. I took Craig Smith out for the Bruins and removed Oliver Wahlstrom and Anders Lee for the Islanders. This should give the simulation an interesting twist because Anders Lee was scoring many simulated goals for the Isles.
After the game was scoreless for the first half of the first period, the Islanders’ fourth line went to work. Matt Martin received the puck in the high slot and fired a wrist shot on the net that hit Tuukka Rask right in the logo on the front of his sweater. Rask coughed up a rebound instead of smothering the puck, and Casey Cizikas was on the spot to scoop up the rebound and open the scoring.
The Bruins stuck with it, though, and with under three minutes left in the period, Patrice Bergeron tied the game at one. He was able to find a loose puck in front of the Islanders’ net after Brad Marchand had a shot blocked. Jake DeBrusk gave the B’s the lead just over a minute later on a lucky deflection in front of the net. It would be nice to see the Bruins get one or two of those in game three after the bounces seemed to go the way of the Islanders in game two.
The Islanders came out firing in the second period, however, and the game was tied up less than five minutes into the second. Jordan Eberle shot a rocket of a wrist shot from the slot past Rask’s glove, and all the momentum the Bruins had going into the locker room after the first period was erased.
There was no more scoring in the second period, despite the Bruins having a power-play opportunity. In the third, both teams went back and forth with chances, but it took about 12 minutes for a team to breakthrough. The Perfection Line was able to cause a turnover at their offensive blue line, and Bergeron snapped the puck into the corner to Marchand. Marchand whipped the puck across the crease right onto David Pastrnak’s tape, and Pasta gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
They were unable to protect the lead, however, as Eberle would score his second goal of the game, sending game three to overtime. The goal was another beautiful shot by Eberle, who has been quiet in the series in real life, and I hope it stays that way. The game was tied up at 3-3 when the final buzzer sounded, meaning it would go to overtime on the Island.
The Islanders had some discipline issues in overtime, taking not one but two penalties. They were able to kill off the first, but on the second power-play, Bergeron tied up his opposing center, and Brad Marchand picked the puck up. Marchand walked to the middle of the ice uncontested and picked the top right corner to end the game.
Final Score: BOS 4 – NYI 3 (OT)
So, the simulation is predicting a goal for all three members of the Perfection Line in game three, and it is predicting that we will see a second straight overtime game. That would be the fifth of the playoffs for the Bruins, who had three against Washington before game two on Monday night. Game four will be on Thursday, June 3, on NBCSN at 7:30 pm. Let’s go, Bruins!