Photo Sourced From New York Islanders Instagram
Finishing off the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one, Islander fans were excited to shout “We want Boston!” Boston fans took to Twitter to quickly laugh at this chant believing that they would sweep the Islanders easy. Even statistics weren’t favoring the Isles any and it looked to be stacked odds against New York.
The Athletic published a series probability chart that consisted of the Boston Bruins having a 79.9% chance of winning the series with their highest chance of obtaining a win in the fewest amount of games. The Islanders on the other hand were given a 20.1% chance with less than 10% chance of getting winning the series in any amount of games. Despite this, they showed everyone once again sometimes the numbers don’t matter and why they are a damn good hockey club.
“We just tried to stay on top of them, tried to force them to come 200 feet, tried to get them to do a lot of things that wore them down,” said Barry Trotz after his team’s series-clinching win last night. “They had to chase the last couple of games and you know they had to play their top guys a lot and we just tried to just stay with them, and our guys did.”
Photo Sourced From The Athletic
Game one and three was where the Bruins took their only leads of the series. The first game was a troubling score of 5-2. This didn’t help the Islanders any as everyone who was not an immediate fan were quick to say the rest of the series would follow suit. With being beaten by three goals, it presented Boston as the stronger team and a possible mismatch for the Isles.
Man was this so greatly wrong.
The rest of the series games were all for the Isles to take. The third game again was a loss, but it was an overtime loss where Mathew Barzal managed to tie the game at one with just about five minutes remaining in regulation. They were close to winning that game as well with some great opportunities on net, but couldn’t finish on them. Brad Marchand with a lucky shot took the win for the Bruins.
Down 2-1 and needing three wins to move on to the next round, it still felt like an uphill task for the Islanders. But just as they did in the opening round, they found a hold of their game and really took it to Bruins by winning three straight games to take the series.
In last night’s final game alone, they dominated, being the first to take the lead then stealing it back in the second, only to never look back. Brock Nelson got two on the board in the second and Kyle Palmieri earned another one himself to put the Islanders up 4-1 heading into the third. They grabbed the comfortable lead, but continued to push themselves the rest of the game. Marchand decreased their lead to two goals early into the third for his second power play goal of the night, but New York grabbed two empty netters in the end for a 6-2 victory.
Some say the referees cost Boston in the series, especially when looking at game five. The Islanders converted on three out of four of their power plays in a 5-4 win. The argument can be made that instead of blaming the referees for their inability to score, the Bruins should blame look that they failed to kill off three penalties in a row. The Islanders were hungry to win and Boston couldn’t meet that intensity in this series.
Now the Isles looks to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in round three. Last summer in the bubble, the Islanders were defeated by them in six games in the Conference final. This season is a whole different ball game, and the Islanders proved in this series that whatever odds are stacked against them could easily be overcome.
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