Hoooo boy. Shall we get this over with?
The faithful in Nassau Coliseum came effin’ READY for this game. Coordinated cheers are tentative on any night and in any stadium, and yet the hollers were well orchestrated. Props where it’s due. Also, props to the anthem singer on letting the fans sing the anthem, considering this game had the potential to be the final game in Nassau.
There was some basic back-and-forth, though the Islanders seemed to get better quality chances in the first five minutes. Tuukka Rask was sharp, as always.
The first goal really came out of nowhere in the general rhythm of the game, but was a great rebound cleanup effort nonetheless. Travis Zajac pounced on a big bounce to bury the first tally of Game 6.
Immediately following the goal, it was apparent that the Bruins did NOT know what to do with the ice. Skaters were sliding all over the place and trying to send passes to open spaces, but spots where the Islanders skaters were already in a better position to receive the puck. (Read: Bruins passed it to Islanders players.) The Islanders were still playing gaps better and generally shutting down space for Boston to make plays while approaching the offensive zone.
The Islanders took consecutive penalties late in the period, resulting in a brief 5v3 power play, and gave Boston some hope. Cycling was not a strong suit in the early going, but the Bruins were able to capitalize in the late sequence on the advantage, which saw Brad Marchand bury a wide-open rebound with just over two minutes to play in the first frame.
At the onset, Charlie McAvoy got caught by a post-whistle shoulder dealt by Palmieri. AFTER the puck was effectively frozen by Rask. And they tell us that the game is too fast to make smart decisions. McAvoy would head to the locker room shortly thereafter for some maintenance.
Mere minutes later, Boston would head to the penalty kill off a tripping penalty by Karson Kuhlman. Sure, fine, legitimate penalty. Still, a sore stinger after the no-call on Palmieri. Fortunately, no PP goal for NYI. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before a defensive miscue left Brock Nelson alone to collect a loose muffin and bury it unscathed.
Brock Nelson puts the Isles ahead!pic.twitter.com/8KjMHfUgro— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 10, 2021
McAvoy returned, thankfully not sidelined for a substantial length of time. Though, it appeared for a few minutes that he might not be back at full speed; he missed a couple pass connections and generally Matt Grzelcyk looked to still be on his game. McAvoy recovered and played great defense on a subsequent shift, stifling Nelson’s attempts to be a Nassau hero. An unfortunate sequence following an attempted pass from Tuukka Rask saw him accomplish just that; the pass from Rask bounced around Mike Reilly’s feet and landed right in front of the crease. Nelson just happened to be available to clean up that particular piece of garbage.
Not long after, Palmieri would also strike for the second time, after Grzelyck couldn’t control the low slot in front of Rask.
That makes it 4-1, for those of you keeping score at home, and the second period wasn’t even over yet.
This frame did not start out auspiciously. Thankfully, after a few minutes of real back-and-forth skating play, Matt Martin took a tripping penalty and put Boston on the advantage. Though it originally looked like a garbage goal, Brad Marchand’s skill shone through on the replay, and Boston added a notch on the board.
The national broadcast made a solid point of emphasizing the Islanders’ ability to capitalize on their rare opportunities, and it was absolutely true - though, I might offer that it wasn’t so much that they were better at capitalizing. Rather, Boston routinely offered one-and-done scoring chances, whereas the Islanders were able to let Boston turn it over on their own and received possession in the most advantageous of places. Yes, that creates GOLDEN opportunities - just not ones created by NYI. That being said, yes, they had already earned their lead in the game.
The rest of the period went about as well as we had witnessed throughout the game. Boston could not establish any sort of offensive possession, and the Islanders didn’t care to bother. The second half of the third really served New York well, as they were able to practice their containment and forecheck game in preparation for the next round.
Empty-net goals from Cal Clutterbuck and Ryan Pulock put the final touches on what sort of seemed inevitable, as the Islanders had exerted their style all over Game 5, and now, Game 6.
Welcome to the offseason, Chowdaheads. Stay tuned for dissection, and we look forward to having you all around for next season!