UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Mathew Barzal was at the right place at the right time for the New York Islanders.
Barzal scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period and the Islanders beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night to even the second-round playoff series at two games apiece
With the score tied 1-1, the Islanders took their first lead of the game when Scott Mayfield’s point shot was redirected and deflected in front, and Barzal batted the puck out of the air and past goalie Tuukka Rask with 6:57 left.
“A little bit of hand-eye (coordination), a little bit of luck,” Barzal said after scoring for the second straight game. “The puck takes a weird skip. I don’t think many people knew where it was, so just trying to get to the net as quick as I can. Fortunate I don’t think Tuukka could really see it, we had some good net presence.”
Boston pulled Rask for an extra skater with 1:12 left. Casey Cizikas — who had the overtime goal in Game 2 — sealed it with an empty-netter nine seconds later, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau added one with three seconds to go.
Kyle Palmieri also scored for New York and Semyon Varlamov stopped 28 shots.
“Every single guy came to play,” Cizikas said. “Right from the puck drop we were banging, we were crashing, we were getting to the net. We were being hard in our own end when we did have breakdowns Varly came up with some huge saves.”
David Krejci scored for Boston and Rask made 30 saves.
“Just some breakdowns,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “The lack of urgency to get the puck to the net I thin was a bit of a formula in general tonight. We weren't willing to shoot enough.”
Game 5 is Monday night in Boston, with Game 6 back at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Boston scored first for the third straight game. With Matt Martin off for holding to put the Bruins on their second power play, Krejci put in the rebound of a shot by Pastrnak at 3:57 of the second. The puck was loose in front and came to Krejci on the right side and he quickly put it in.
The Islanders challenged for goalie interference, but it stood after a review, putting the Bruins on another power play.
New York tied it shortly after the penalty expired. Barzal skated back and forth along the right boards while defended by Curtis Lazar, then as he skated behind the net he sent a pass in front to Palmieri, who quickly beat Rask at 6:38. Palmieri, who had two goals in 17 games after being acquired from New Jersey at the trade deadline, got his fifth of the postseason.
“You get an opportunity to get some momentum off the penalty kill and those guys did a great job," Palmieri said. "It was nice to come back down the other way and tie it up.”
Barzal was down on the ice for several minutes after being slashed by Krejci, putting the Islanders on their first power play of the game with just under nine minutes remaining. New York managed just two shots on goal during the advantage.
The Bruins outshot the Islanders 11-7 in a fast-paced and physical first period.
Mayfield and Boston's Taylor Hall dropped gloves and traded punches 7 1/2 minutes into the game. Both players were given major penalties for the fight.
“He likes to get to the net and he's got speed so I need to make sure I'm physical on him,” Mayfield said. “Playoffs you get emotional, I think that's what it was. He's not known for doing that. It's part of the game. It was a good little fight there and you move on."
There was more pushing and shoving two minutes later after Barzal was whistled for high-sticking in anticipation of a hit from Lazar. In the skirmish, New York's Matt Martin and Bruins' Jarred Tinordi also exchanged punches.
D Brandon Carlo missed the game after leaving Game 3 early in the third period following a hard it from the Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck. Tinordi took Carlo's spot in the lineup and began the game in a third-line pairing with Connor Clifton. It was Tinordi's first game in the series. Jeremy Lauzon moved up to the second pairing with Mike Reilly.
The series has featured sharp goalie play on both sides. Varlamov has stopped 106 of 112 shots in three games after replacing Ilya Sorokin. Rask has 113 saves on 122 shots in the four games.
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