Two weeks after winning their first-round series in front of a similarly raucous crowd at the Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders had the chance for another series-cleaner game at home.
He did not disappoint, as the Islanders finished the Bruins with a 6–2 win in Game 6 of their second-round series.
The Islanders broke the 1–1 draw with three second-period goals, two by Brock Nelson and one by Kyle Palmieri. Semyon Varlamov, who entered the game with .925 goals above average, had another great game with 23 saves. The Islanders added two free-net goals in the third period.
The Islanders reached the semifinals for the second consecutive season and will then face Tampa Bay. Last year, the Lightning defeated the Islanders in six games to beat Dallas to win the Stanley Cup.
The 2020 series was played in a bubble environment in Edmonton, Alberta, but this year’s performance will be the first semi-final on Long Island since 1993. Tampa Bay went on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes in five games.
“It’s a great opportunity to see him again in the semifinals,” said Josh Bailey, an Islanders forward who had two assists. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
Travis Zajak opened the scoring in 8 minutes 52 seconds of the first period, holding the Bruins in front of goalkeeper Tukka Rusk.
Zajak, 36, a late-season takeover from the Devils with Palmieri, sent the Coliseum crowd into a frenzy with his first goal of the postseason.
Zajack had played more than 1,000 games for the Devils his entire career before being traded and replaced the injured Oliver Wahlstrom in the lineup for the final game of the opening round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Boston’s Brad Marchand scored both goals for the Bruins on the power play, one in 17:36 of the first to tie the game and the other in the third period.
But the Islanders – whose last five victories this post-season had allowed an early goal – even played with perseverance and determination, forcing Bruce to the perimeter and taking space in front of Varlamov. fiercely protected.
“It was just a great team effort,” Zazak said. “We had everyone’s contribution. It was an electric atmosphere and I loved the way we had to fight.
He continued: “It was nice to play with the lead.”
Nelson scored his fifth goal of the playoffs at 5:20 in the second period with assists from Bailey and Nick Leddie, and then gave the Islanders a two-goal cushion at 12:39. Palmieri scored his team’s best seventh after the season at 16:07, giving the Islanders a lead of three.
Hours before the decider of Game 6, Andy Greene – bagged by the Islanders late last season – got the chance to play with his former Devils teammates in such high-stakes games.
“You have to know and embrace that moment,” said Green, 38, who has also been a career devil before the trade. “It has been great to play with Trav and Palms and be on the run. It has been nice to be able to share that with them.”
Now three former Devils — all of whom were acquired in New Jersey by their former boss Lou Lamorillo, who is now the team’s president and the Islanders’ general manager — will play on.
And a season in which the Islanders played their first home game with no crowd against the same Bruins would continue with 12,000 fans. waving an orange towel while chanting and singing The Coliseum’s Final Games.
Islanders coach Barry Trotz said, “As we start to back fans with everyone getting vaccinated, it’s giving it a lot more meaning.” “It’s a great feeling.”