The New York Islanders entered game five in an even 2-2 series with the Boston Bruins on Monday night. Being on the road at TD Garden, the Islanders most definitely felt the intensity of Boston’s fans and knew that their opponents would feed off their energy. Coming out of Game 5 with a win was crucial, especially heading back to the Island with the possibility to secure the fourth and final victory to advance to the Conference Final. The first step was creating opportunities and the next was finishing on them.
Unfortunately, the Bruins jumped to an early 1-0 lead due to a snipe by David Pastrnak. However, the tides turned and the Islanders found themselves with a chance to tie the game on the man advantage. They made quick work as Mathew Barzal continued to stay red-hot and for the third game in a row scores a much-needed tying goal, a snipe over Boston’s Tuukka Rask’s shoulder.
Barzal’s goal was just the beginning of a an Islanders’ power play would be outstanding for the rest of Game 5. In the second period, an early chance to capitalize came, and it was Kyle Palmieri — his team-leading sixth goal of the postseason — who would be the one to find paydirt, giving the Isles their first lead of the night. Adding insult to injury for the Bruins, the Islanders racked up their third power-play goal at the end of the second period on a snipe by Jordan Eberle who gave them a two-goal lead, making it a 4-2 game.
TOY DEPARTMENT pic.twitter.com/tx2qCrP53J
— x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) June 7, 2021
“We had some timely goals tonight. You know our power play hit on some timely goals. They made a couple mistakes and we capitalized,” said head coach Barry Trotz postgame.
With a concluding score of 5-4 in favor of the Islanders, they really took advantage of an ineffective Bruins penalty-kill, converting three out of four times on the man-up. According to Islanders’ statistician Eric Hornick, it marked the first time since 2002 the team scored three power play goals in a postseason game. Furthermore, the Islanders now have six goals with the man-advantage in this series, also the most since that legendary ’02 matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— James Nichols (@JamesNicholsNYI) June 8, 2021
Looking at Game 6, drawing penalties is going to be crucial and a valuable strategy for the Islanders if they want to close out the series. In previous games such as Games 3 & 4, the Isles were 0/2 and 0/3 on their power play. Despite a 4-1 win on Saturday, the Isles dropped Game 3 on Thursday unable to convert on their man advantage in a 2-1 loss. If they had converted on at least one of those chances in Game 3, there’s a real possibility this series could already be over.
The strategy should remain the same for Game 6: taking advantage when handed power play opportunities. The Islanders’ power play though seems to have found their confidence and it was on full display Monday night.
Boston is going to come out hard and the Isles need to match that and reflect it on the board. Making the most of them on the man-advantage can do that.