Boston, MA- The New York Islanders held on to beat the Boston Bruins 5-4 in front of 17,400 at TD Garden to take a commanding 3-2 lead as the series shifts back to Long Island.
A forty save performance from Semyon Varlamov helped push the Islanders one game closer to the Conference Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time in two years.
The Islanders only mustered 19 shots on the Bruins net but took advantage of three of their four power-play opportunities.
“We have to fix some things,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “Obviously our penalty kill. (Brandon) Carlo and (Kevan) Miller eat up a lot of those minutes. We miss them back there. We had some breakdowns we need to correct.”
Boston jumped out to the early 1-0 lead when David Pastrnak unloaded a one-timer from just above the half-wall at 1:25 of the first period. Brad Marchand‘s forecheck behind the Islanders goal made the play possible when he picked the pocket of Islanders forward Anthony Beauvillier and passed to Charlie McAvoy back at the blue line. McAvoy dished to Pastrnak for his sixth goal of the postseason.
Throughout most of the first, the Bruins were all over the Islanders, but a questionable Slashing call on Sean Kuraly gave the Islanders a power-play at 18:17.
Matthew Barzal wasted little time tying the game at 1-1 when he snapped a shot over the shoulder of Tuukka Rask from the right face-off dot at 18:49. The Islanders Jordan Eberle won the face-off back to Noah Dobson at the point, and Dobson fired a cross-ice pass to Barzal to spring the talented forward into action. The goal was Barzal’s third of the series.
Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was called for Cross-Checking at 2:56 of the second period. The Islanders capitalized on the penalty at 4:49 when Kyle Palmieri banged in a Josh Bailey pass that went through two Bruins defenders. Palmieri’s sixth of the playoffs was assisted by Bailey and Nick Leddy.
Marchand tied the game for Boston at 6:27 when he deked Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock and then Varlamov in his crease. The goal was Marchand’s sixth of the postseason and was assisted by Pastrnak and McAvoy.
The Bruins carried play after the goal for a solid two-minute stretch but were unable to beat Varlamov.
Bailey scored to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead at 14:30 when Beauvillier beat Jeremy Lauzon and Mike Reilly behind the Bruins goal and dished to J.G. Pageau for a touch pass wide-open Bailey in front of Rask. Bailey beat the Bruins netminder high, blocker-side for his second of the series and fifth of the postseason.
The Islanders took advantage of another Bruins penalty at 16:38 when Eberle sniped a Barzal pass past Rask from the right face-off dot. The goal was Eberle’s first of the series.
Bruins rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman started the third period in goal for the Bruins. Islanders forward Brock Nelson welcomed him to the NHL Playoffs just 1:59 into the period when he blasted a slapshot past Swayman for the 5-2 Islanders lead.
Boston continued to fight back. An Adam Pelech Hooking call put the Bruins on the man advantage at 3:24. Pastrnak only needed twenty-four seconds to notch his second goal of the night. This time McAvoy and Bergeron assisted on Pastrnak’s one-timer from the left face-off dot.
The Bruins pulled to within a goal when David Krejci chipped a rebound past Varlamov at 14:43.
Boston pulled Swayman with 1:43 remaining but only managed to get two shots on goal in the waning moments as the Islanders held on for the win.
“It’s frustrating,” said Pastrnak. “Let it go and refocus for game six.”
“I thought we turned our game around as it went on,” said Islanders forward Bailey. “They’ve got a good team, they pushed hard, and the crowd was into it. Ultimately we found a way to get the win and give ourselves an opportunity here back at home.”
Game six is Wednesday at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 7:30 pm in Uniondale, NY.