The New York Islanders‘ quest for a fifth Stanley Cup title remains right on track after beating the Boston Bruins, 6-2, in Game 6 of their Second Round clash at the Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday. Brock Nelson and Semyon Varlamov led the Islanders, who won the best-of-seven series 4-2.
For the second game running, the Islanders poured it on in the second period, scoring three goals that all but ended the Bruins’ season. With the game tied at 1-1, Nelson gave the Islanders the advantage at the 5:20 mark.
After stealing the puck from Matt Grzelcyk, Nelson went on a breakaway and calmly beat goalie Tuukka Rask with a shot into the top right corner for the 2-1 lead.
Nelson’s double sinks the Bruins
Nelson then doubled New York’s advantage with 7:23 remaining in the second period. Josh Bailey intercepted an outlet pass from Rask and immediately fed Nelson, who beat the goalie for his second goal of the night. The Islanders then made it 4-1 after Kyle Palmieri scored off a rebound from Adam Pelech’s shot that Rask initially saved.
There was no comeback that time around for the Bruins as the Islanders stood firm in the final period. The Islanders held the Bruins to just five shots on goal in the third period as they struggled to break down the New York defense. Such was their defensive pressure that the Islanders prevented Boston from pulling Rask for an extra skater until there was only 1:25 left in the game.
Apart from Palmieri and Nelson, Trais Zajac, Cal Clutterbuck, and Ryan Pulock also scored for the Islanders. Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two assists for New York, while goalkeeper Varlamov made 23 saves.
With the win, the Islanders can now settle their unfinished business with the Tampa Bay Lightning, who they will face in the next round. The Lightning eliminated the Islanders in six games in the bubble playoffs in Edmonton last year.
Boston’s season comes to an end
It was another disappointing end to the season for the Boston Bruins, who were ousted in the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. So, what went wrong with Boston in this year’s playoffs?
Injuries certainly didn’t help as they lost two key defensemen for this series against the Islanders. Kevan Miller was injured during Game 5 of the Stanley Cup First Round against the Washington Capitals and did not make an appearance in this series against New York.
The Bruins then suffered another blow as Brandon Carlo was sidelined for the final three games against the Islanders, all of which ended in losses.
They were also without center Curtis Lazar in Game 6 after getting injured in the second period of Game 5 in a collision with New York’s Adam Pelech.
Goalkeeper Tuukka Rask was also clearly not healthy, and his sub-par performances in Games 5 and 6 contributed to the Bruins’ exit. One bright spot for the Bruins this season was the play of Brad Marchand. He scored five goals in the six-game series against the Islanders and eight goals in total in this postseason. Marchand scored 69 points (29 goals, 40 assists) in 53 regular-season games and 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 11 postseason games.
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