In the days leading up to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a reporter asked several Islanders what exactly it means when some talks about playoff hockey being different.
At the time it seemed like a rather silly question, but after thinking about it further and knowing that Adam Pelech played a large chunk of Game 5 with an injury, it’s a much more fascinating question than first given credit for. Pelech missed Game 6 with a broken wrist.
Mat Barzal Records Big Points After Concern Over Game 6 Availability
Despite some concern that Mat Barzal wouldn’t play on Thursday, the Islanders star was in the lineup for Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers and scored in the second period of the eventual 5-4 double-overtime loss.
Mat Barzal was caught on camera with a large bandage over his right eye before the game. The 23-year-old took a stick to the face in Game 5 late in the third period. Claude Giroux was moving the puck when his follow-through caught Barzal under the visor.
Prior to Thursday’s game, there was some concern that Barzal could miss Game 6 of the series because of the injury.
“When (the injury) happened during (Game 5) I was a little bit worried for a few minutes there,” Barzal said. “My vision wasn’t all there for a few minutes and then doc stitched me up. I was pretty close to coming back out. Maybe if there was a second overtime in Game 5, but it was still a little impaired.
“Slept on it. Woke up the next morning feeling really solid. We did a little team stretch and it felt good. Morning skated today and vision was 100 percent and I was ready to go.”
Barzal didn’t seem to miss a beat in Game 6 with a two-point night (one goal, one assist). That included putting the Islanders ahead late in the second period.
The goal came in the final minute of the second with the game tied at three. Barzal picked up the puck after the Islanders forced a turnover in the Flyers end and put a shot over Carter Hart’s shoulder.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) September 4, 2020
The Islanders forward picked up his 12th and 13th point of the postseason on Thursday, which included an assist on Anders Lee’s second-period goal.
Mat Barzal was the focus of the Flyers in the first period. Philadelphia made an effort to rattle the cage of Barzal whenever he was on the ice.
— Here's Your Replay ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) September 3, 2020
Barzal wasn’t the only notable player on the ice on Thursday. Philadelphia’s Oskar Lindblom made his first appearance on the ice since December. Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of Bone Cancer, in December.
He completed chemotherapy in July.
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