Boston, MA – The New York Islanders edged the Boston Bruins, 4-3, in overtime when Casey Cizikas breakaway shot at 14:38 beat Tuukka Rask high, blocker-side to tie their second-round series at one win apiece. Cizakas silenced a rocking TD Garden crowd of 17,400 when his shot hit twine. The goal gave the Islanders their first win on the Garden ice during the 2021 campaign.
“This is a character win,” said Islanders coach Barry Trotz. “There is no one that has bigger character in our dressing room and is more loved than Casey [Cizikas]. When he came in, our room exploded with guys hugging him.”
Charlie Coyle opened the scoring just 2:38 into the game when he carried into the Islanders zone and beat defenseman Nick Leddy before deking around Semyon Varlamov (39 saves) for the 1-0 Bruins lead. Nick Ritchie and Karson Kuhlman assisted on Coyle’s second goal of the playoffs.
Rask (35 saves) only had 6 shots to face during the first period, but they were all high-quality scoring chances as the Islanders tried to even the score. Despite the score, Varlamov matched Rask’s play with some stellar saves of his own on 15 shots from the Bruins.
In the second period, David Pastrnak was called for Goalie Interference at 5:09, giving the Islanders their first power-play. They took advantage to tie the game at 1-1 when Josh Bailey’s cross-ice pass attempt was deflected into the Boston goal off of Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon‘s skate.
Kyle Palmieri put the visitors ahead when he banged in a Leddy rebound at the side of the Bruins’ goal. Leddy’s shot was just wide of the Boston net, but the rebound went straight to Palmieri at the post. The goal was Palmieri’s fourth of the playoffs.
At 12:09, Ritchie was sent off for Holding while New York’s Matt Martin was called for Roughing. Boston dominated the resulting four-on-four action, but Varlamov had found his rhythm by this point after having the last five games off.
Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo was sent to the penalty box at 15:56 for Cross-Checking. Once again, the Islanders capitalized on the man advantage when Jean-Gabriel Pageau buried an Anthony Beauvillier dish from the goal line. Beauvillier caught a Matthew Barzal pass down low, spun in front of Bruins goal, and dished to an incoming, wide-open Pageau.
Ritchie and Adam Pelech were assessed matching Roughing penalties after time expired.
Patrice Bergeron pulled the Bruins to within a goal when he blasted a slapshot past Varlamov from the slot at 10:34 of the third period. Brad Marchand and Pastrnak assisted on Bergeron’s fourth goal of the post-season.
A Too Many Men on the Ice call against the Islanders at 14:39 put Boston on the power-play again.
Marchand fired a wrist shot past Varlamov at 15:06 to tie the game and send the TD Garden crowd into a frenzy. Marchand carried into the Islanders zone, then dished to defenseman Charlie McAvoy at the blue line. Marchand skated out from the corner to catch a return pass from McAvoy before unleashing his shot from the top of the left circle.
The Islanders had their third power play in the final minutes of play as defenseman Mike Reilly was assessed a Playing with an Illegal Stick penalty. His stick snapped as he was in the process of shooting but had to make a play as an Islanders’ player was now going past him with the puck.
After sixty minutes of play, Boston was outshooting New York 36-30.
Each team had tremendous chances in overtime due to prolonged zone pressure. The Islanders controlled most of the extra time before Cizikas won the game to even up the series at one win apiece.
“That was a heck of a hockey game,” Trotz said. “That’s two good teams going nose to nose. That’s the type of series I expected going into it, and I expect the same when we get back to the Island. They had a lot of momentum from the crowd. We fought through that, and that showed a lot of character for our group.”
“They were one save better than us,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “We had our looks in overtime. We didn’t convert, and they did.”
“Unfortunately, we battled back, but we didn’t get that final goal,” said Marchand. “We’re two even teams. We both compete hard. We’re both going to have our opportunities. It’s going to be a tight series, and we know that.”
The series shifts to Long Island as the two teams will meet on Thursday (game three) and Saturday (game four) nights at Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.