By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Hall – Krejci – Smith
DeBrusk – Coyle – Kuhlman
Ritchie – Kuraly – Wagner
Grzelcyk – McAvoy
Reilly – Lauzon
Tinordi – Clifton
New York’s Lineup
Komarov – Barzal – Eberle
Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey
Palmieri – Pageau – Zajac
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Pelech – Pulock
Leddy – Mayfield
Greene – Dobson
Ryan Pulock started this game off with a booming slap shot to test Tuukka Rask. He was equal to the task and went on to make another big save on a backhand chance from Matt Martin a few minutes later. Rask was sharp early on.
After two consecutive icings by the Bruins, Travis Zajac got the scoring start at the 11:08 mark of the period. Neither team was completely dominating the other, but capitalizing on the second of two consecutive icings was just what the Islanders needed to shift the tide in their favor.
Anthony Beauvillier was sent to the box for tripping with 5:47 to go in the period. An unsuccessful first minute and 46 seconds of the power play were halted by another tripping call on Casey Cizikas, creating a brief stint of 5-on-3 time.
The Bruins quickly made up for not converting on their first power play in the form of a goal by Brad Marchand. He didn’t get credit for an assist due to the amount of passing required to make it happen, but Matt Grzelcyk stifled a clearing attempt by the Islanders that made the goal possible.
Grzelcyk then sent the puck to David Krejci, who dished it to David Pastrnak who sent a feed across the slot to Marchand. The assists marked the eighth and sixth respectively for Pastrnak and Krejci on Marchand’s seventh goal.
Kyle Palmieri nearly beat the buzzer with a late turnaround shot, but was denied by the crossbar. The Islanders blocked a lot of shots and neutralized shooting lanes pretty well, so Marchand getting one was especially big with chances being hard to come by at times. The Bruins did a solid job in that regard as well, blocking nine shots to eight for the Islanders. The shot advantage went to the Islanders at 12 to ten.
Palmieri was eager for another scoring chance, getting a quick one right out of the gate. He also caught Charlie McAvoy up high after the whistle, shaking McAvoy up after the fact. The officials decided it wasn’t worthy of a penalty. A penalty was called not too long after, as Karson Kuhlman was sent to the box for tripping at the 17:42 mark. They killed the penalty despite the persistence of the Islanders.
Brock Nelson won a quick puck battle with Grzelcyk at the Bruins’ defensive blue line and banked a shot off of the bottom of Rask’s glove and in. Shortly after the goal, McAvoy returned to the ice after being shaken up in the first shift of the period.
A play on the puck by Rask bounced off of Mike Reilly and Nelson capitalized on it and put his second of the game in the back of the net to give the Islanders a 3-1 lead with 7:21 remaining. Palmieri’s efforts to score all game paid off, as he took advantage of a Grzelcyk turnover and made extended the lead to three. It was 4-1 Islanders with 3:53 left and things were unravelling more and more with time for the Bruins.
Dominating a period is one thing, but dominating a period with three goals to show for it is another thing. Somehow the shots on goal were tied at ten apiece, bringing the total through 40 minutes to 22 to 20 in favor of the Islanders. A massive hill to climb stood in front of the Bruins to keep their season alive.
Score: 4-1 New York
A tripping call on Martin gave the Bruins an opportunity to inject some life back in their team, and they did just that. Marchand buried his second of the game and eighth of the playoffs at the 14:22 mark of the period. Krejci picked up his second assist of the game and seventh of the playoffs on the goal and McAvoy had the secondary assist, his 11th of the playoffs.
The Islanders were hounding Bruins puck carriers relentlessly. The Marchand goal didn’t rattle them too much. It all officially came crashing down when Cal Clutterbuck buried with the empty-net goal with 58.9 seconds to go. Ryan Pulock added a second empty-netter with 47.6 seconds left to add insult to injury.
The hungrier, more efficient team won. It was very evident that the Islanders had more jump in their step throughout the game. Shots on goal in the third period were nine to five in favor of the Islanders, bringing the final total to 29 to 25, also in their favor. The offseason begins for the Bruins.
Score: 6-2 New York