The New York Islanders took back home ice advantage from the Pittsburgh Penguins once again by stealing a victory in a pivotal game five on the road. It took two overtimes and lots of stress, but the Isles pulled out a win in a game that they probably didn’t deserve to have.
In my eyes, I saw this game getting contributions from two key pieces of the lineup (and four players in total). The first and most obvious answer to that statement was Ilya Sorokin, who recorded 48 saves en route to his third postseason victory. There’s no denying the White Whale was spectacular all night with several show-stopping saves and doing all he could to keep the Islanders in a game that could’ve (and probably should’ve) been a blowout for the home team. Without Sorokin manning the crease, the odds of the Isles pulling out a win seemed slim to none.
While Sorokin practically stood on his head in this one — and although it may not have seemed like it at times — there were several forwards that had big games of their own. The second key contributor wasn’t just one player, it was a whole line… the “Killer B’s” as they’ve been dubbed in the past, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, and Anthony Beauvillier.
The big night for the second line started in the closing minute of the opening frame, with the Penguins holding a 1-0 lead. Nick Leddy cleared a bouncing puck out to center, where it’s corralled by Bailey. Bailey fed Beauvillier, and with a forward (Jake Guentzel) back as the last line of defense, Beau works around him on his forehand and snaps a shot high blocker pasr Tristan Jarry to even the score and provide a bit of a confidence booster for the Isles.
— IslesBlog (@IslesBlog) May 24, 2021
This trio wasn’t done for the night either.
Less than a minute into the second overtime, Jarry plays a loose puck, and with oncoming pressure from Beauvillier, throws it right up the middle of the ice. As a youth hockey player (whether you’re playing forward or defense), one of the first things you learn about puck management in the defensive zone is to never pass up the middle of the rink. This applies to goalies as well, as Jarry’s indirect pass landed right on the tape of Josh Bailey. Bailey chipped the puck over Jarry’s glove (completely unheard of to shoot glove on Jarry, I know…), and seals the deal. Bailey’s second career playoff OT goal gives the Isles a 3-2 win in the game, and a 3-2 lead in the series.
It might not have been a gorgeous game winner, but in the postseason you take overtime goals however you can get them… even if there’s a bit of uncertainty involved.
“We were just trying to put some pressure on him, Beau did a good job going up the ice. Kind of guessed that he might go middle, and it just happened to work out,” Bailey said during a postgame interview.
I wonder if Bailey is any good at the board game “Guess Who?”, because he was able to guess where that puck was heading with pin-point accuracy.
Thanks to number 12’s overtime heroics, the Isles now find themselves in a position to clinch a postseason series on Nassau Coliseum ice for the first time since 1993.
Follow Carter on Twitter at @cbentivenga14