Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand‘s tough angle shot beat New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov far-side top corner to give the Bruins a 2-1 win at 3:36 of overtime. The starting goalies were the big stars as Tuukka Rask had 28 saves for Boston while Varlamov had 39. In the end, it was the desperation attempt by Marchand that gave the Bruins the series lead at two games to one.
“Any puck, especially in overtime, has a chance to go in,” said Marchand. “That’s something every team talks about going into overtime. You can’t pass up a shot, and that’s another example of it.”
A sentiment that Bruins forward Craig Smith touched on also.
“No shot is a bad shot. Marchy (Marchand) showed us that tonight,” said Smith.
Smith, back after missing game two with a lower-body injury, kicked off the scoring at 5:52 when his wrist-shot beat Varlamov high, blocker-side. Taylor Hall and Matt Grzelcyk assisted on Smith’s second goal of the postseason. A back-checking Hall got the play going when he broke up Matt Barzal at the Bruins blueline and dished to Grzelcyk to start the rush. Smith’s shot was only the second on the net for Boston.
The two teams combined for only 13 shots in the first period, 7-5 in favor of the Islanders.
The second period belonged to Varlamov and Rask as each turned back chance after chance. Boston had the shots on goal advantage, 13-8.
Both netminders continued their stonewalling performance in the third period.
Boston had a power-play opportunity at 1:38 when Islanders defenseman Andy Greene was whistled for High-Sticking Charlie Coyle in front of Varlamov. The Bruins managed five shots on goal, but Varlamov turned them all aside.
Boston limited New York to just one shot thru the first five minutes of the third period. The visitors pumped twenty-one shots on goal during the third but couldn’t solve Varlamov again.
The Islanders had nine attempts on the Bruins goal, and Rask stopped eight of them. The lone blemish came at 14:34 when Rask and Conor Clifton misread a bouncing puck behind the net. Barzal swooped in and reversed direction for a wraparound attempt at the near post. Rask made the initial stop but couldn’t keep the puck out of the net as Barzal continued to whack at it. The goal was Barzal’s first of the postseason.
A Sean Kuraly Cross-Checking penalty on Kyle Palmieri at 17:45 put the Islanders on the power-play. The 12,000 in attendance at Nassau Veteran’s Coliseum was buzzing as the Isles peppered Rask but to no avail.
For the second straight game, overtime would be needed to determine a winner. That’s when Marchand struck with his improbable goal.
The two teams meet again on Saturday night in Uniondale, NY, for game four.