Two weeks after they received their first-round sequence earlier than a equally cacophonous crowd at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders had an opportunity for an additional series-clincher recreation at residence.
They didn’t disappoint, because the Islanders completed off the Bruins with a 6-2 win in Sport 6 of their second-round sequence.
The Islanders broke a 1-1 tie with three second-period targets, two by Brock Nelson and one by Kyle Palmieri. Semyon Varlamov, who entered play with a .925 goals-against common, had one other stellar recreation with 23 saves. The Islanders added two empty-net targets within the third interval.
The Islanders reached the semifinals for a second straight season and can once more face Tampa Bay. Final yr, the Lightning beat the Islanders in six video games earlier than defeating Dallas to win the Stanley Cup.
The 2020 sequence performed out in a bubble atmosphere in Edmonton, Alberta, however this yr’s showdown would be the first semifinal on Lengthy Island since 1993. Tampa Bay superior after beating the Carolina Hurricanes in 5 video games.
“It’s an amazing alternative seeing them once more within the semifinals,” stated Josh Bailey, an Islanders ahead who had two assists. “We’re actually wanting ahead to it.”
Travis Zajac opened the scoring at 8 minutes 52 seconds of the primary interval, placing the puck previous Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.
Zajac, 36, who with Palmieri was a late-season acquisition from the Devils, despatched the Coliseum crowd right into a frenzy along with his first objective of the postseason.
Zajac had performed his complete profession, greater than 1,000 video games, for the Devils earlier than the commerce and had changed the injured Oliver Wahlstrom within the lineup for the ultimate recreation of the opening-round sequence towards the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Boston’s Brad Marchand scored each targets for the Bruins on energy performs, one at 17:36 of the primary to tie the sport and the second within the third interval.
However the Islanders — whose earlier 5 wins this postseason got here after they’d allowed the opening objective — performed with resolve and willpower at even power, forcing the Bruins to the perimeter and fiercely defending the area in entrance of Varlamov.
“It was only a nice crew effort,” Zajac stated. “We had contributions from everybody. It was an electrical ambiance and I favored the way in which we battled.”
He added: “It was good to play with the lead.”
Nelson scored his fifth objective of the playoffs at 5:20 of the second interval with assists from Bailey and Nick Leddy after which gave the Islanders a two-goal cushion at 12:39. Palmieri scored his team-best seventh of the postseason at 16:07, placing the Islanders up by three.
Hours earlier than the pivotal Sport 6, Andy Greene — acquired late final season by the Islanders — marveled on the likelihood to play along with his former Devils teammates in such high-stakes video games.
“It’s a must to know the second at hand and embrace it,’’ stated the 38-year-old Greene, who had additionally been a profession Satan earlier than the commerce. “It’s been nice taking part in with Trav and Palms and being on a run. It’s been cool to have the ability to share it with them.”
Now the three former Devils — who have been all acquired by Lou Lamoriello, their former boss in New Jersey, who’s now the crew president and common supervisor of the Islanders — will play on.
And a season during which the Islanders performed their first residence recreation with no crowd towards these similar Bruins will proceed with 12,000 followers waving orange towels whereas chanting and singing within the final video games of the Coliseum.
“As we began to have followers again with everybody getting vaccinated, it’s giving it much more that means,” Islanders Coach Barry Trotz stated. “It’s an amazing feeling.”