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New York Islanders

LOVE ISLAND(ERS): Pageau, Barzal Lead Isles to Victory over Boston



New York Islanders win

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal gave the Boston Bruins a Valentine’s Day gift from the New York Islanders that they won’t soon forget.

Barzal, who Boston famously passed up drafting three times in 2015, scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Pageau scored twice as the Islanders snapped Boston’s five-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory. It was the second time this season that the Islanders have bested Boston on Long Island and extended New York’s point streak to six games.

“I thought we played an Islanders style playoff game against the Bruins,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “They had back-to-backs so I felt we jumped on them. Our start wasn’t real great, but we got our traction about eight minutes into the first period. I thought we were moving our feet, I thought we were physical, I thought we were winning our battles. … It was a big win for us because that’s a very good team over there.”

It was Barzal’s power-play goal early in the third period that snapped a 2-2 tie.

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After getting an open look moments early, Barzal capitalized on another one from the same spot. Noah Dobson managed to keep the puck in the Boston zone and it made its way to Anders Lee, who quickly sent the puck to Barzal for the one-timer.

The goal extended Barzal’s point streak to eight games, which is a new career-best for the 23-year-old.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau put the icing on the cake when he buried a shorthanded chance at 14:32 of the third. Leo Komarov was able to feed Pageau the puck down low and Pageau put past the glove of Tuukka Rask to give the Islanders a two-goal lead.

“The power play has been great. We haven’t had a lot of opportunities in the game,” said Jordan Eberle, who also scored in the win. “It’s been like one a game, but we’ve capitalized a couple of times in key moments and then obviously you saw the PK has been big all year, and then they got a big goal for us tonight.

“Obviously special teams had a huge impact and why we won tonight.”

Saturday was only Boston’s second regulation loss of the season and both have come against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders have won three of their last four games since snapping a five-game skid on Feb. 6.

The win helped the Islanders pull two points ahead of Pittsburgh in the East Division and are seven points back of the division leaders, Boston.

“I think we’ve done some good things,” Brock Nelson said. “Finding ways to string games together where you get points is huge. Obviously, you like to get the wins. It was a big one tonight.”

Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves for the Islanders in the win and picked up his sixth win of the season. The New York Islanders had a season-high 42 shots on net on Saturday night.

Boston capitalized off a sluggish start from the Islanders in the first period. After hemming the fourth line in their own end, Patrice Bergeron was able to dig the puck out of the corner and fling it to Brad Marchand in the slot for the opening goal.

The Boston tally appeared to wake up the Islanders, who proceeded to pressure the visitors from Massachusetts until they finally cashed in at 11:36 of the first. Ryan Pulock was able to throw the puck onto the net and with Leo Komarov and Pageau parked in front, Pageau swept the loose puck past Tuukka Rask.

The goal had originally been credited to Komarov, but replay clearly showed that Pageau had been the one to touch the puck.

Eberle gave the Islanders the lead moments later off a soft shot on net during a rush. The Islanders forward sent the puck toward the net and it hit off the inside of Rask’s pads and went into the net at 15:16 of the first to put New York up 2-1.

“I thought we showed some character,” Pageau said about the Islanders turnaround. “We stuck to our game, knew they played last night. Try to put the puck behind their D, make them play 200 feet and I thought we outworked them. Every line that got out there really worked hard.”

Boston was able to tie the game back up late in the second period off the odd-man rush. Adam Pelech got caught pinching in the Boston end which only left Pulock and Jordan Eberle back to defend.

That left Brad Marchand open and he put his shot past Varlamov to even the game at two with 3:09 left in the middle frame.