Mathew Barzal’s game has turned up a notch, which has added an extra presence in the New York Islanders second-round series against the Boston Bruins.
Starting with game three, Barzal netted a much-needed goal that gave the Islanders the fighting chance they needed to push for a win in overtime. It was his first goal of the playoffs and now it is as if the floodgates have opened and his reign on the Bruins has begun.
Boston felt his attack heavy last night in game four as he pushed them in a multitude of ways. Barzal was aggressive enough that it caused him to grab a high-sticking penalty on Curtis Lazar. Then come the second period he drew a penalty on David Krejci for slashing, although the nature of the call is questionable. Regardless, the Isles went to the power play.
Barzal was strong in game four. He was strong on his skates, heavy on net, gaining shots on goal with many opportunities to get the puck across the goal line. In the second period, Barzal had a crafty assist on Kyle Palmieri’s first goal of the night that tied the game at one.
“I liked Mats’ game, he was dangerous all night. He kept putting pucks to the net and creating. You know, even the one where he took wide and took it to the net that’s how you’re going to score in the playoffs and he’s doing it right now,” said head coach Barry Trotz in an interview with NHL Networks.
Both of Barzal’s points really propelled the Islanders as it helped keep them in the second half of the game. His skill set was portrayed well as he juggled the puck around Lazar, then skated down the wing to pass it over to Palmieri in front of the net for the quick shot to the wide-open side of Rask. With the game tied and the momentum shifted in the Islanders’ favor, it only took one more hard fought play to pull New York ahead. A deflected Mayfield shot landed in front of Barzal, and he displayed great hand-eye coordination to beat Rask to make it a 2-1 game.
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 6, 2021
This is what fans have been waiting to see from him all playoffs. He has had no shortage of opportunities, but was failing to convert on chances. In the past two games especially, Barzal has played up to his standards not letting the past define the type of player he is.
“Honestly it’s the playoffs, as much as I would love to produce every night, just it’s so tight out there and sometimes it just doesn’t come that easy,” states Mathew Barzal in his interview with NHL Networks, “It was more so just when it’s not coming offensively that night just making sure I am not on the ice for any goals against or making that block or just trying to get the puck out and just playing sound hockey.”
— Isles Territory (@IslesTerritory) June 6, 2021
Barzal made it clear to Islander fans, skating back onto the ice after being named the first star of game four that Nassau Coliseum was “our house” and clearly showed his passion to secure a much-needed win to push past Boston. Headed back to Boston for Game on Monday, the crowd is definitely going to be tough on him but as long as he brings what he brought in game four, the Bruins will have their hands full at TD Garden.
Follow Bri on Twitter @RepettoBri