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New York Islanders Drop Game 3 in OT, Fall Behind in Series to Bruins

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UNIONDALE, NY - JUNE 03: New York Islanders Right Wing Josh Bailey (12) and Boston Bruins Defenceman Charlie McAvoy (73) battle for the puck during the third period of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Second Round between the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders on June 3, 2021, at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Brad Marchand scored 3:36 into the overtime period to lead the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders in Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum. It capped a wild affair that saw the Islanders rally to tie the game late in the third to force the extra period.

The Islanders now trail the best-of-seven-series 2-1 with Thursday’s loss. It’s the second time this postseason that the Islanders have trailed a series 2-1 after the first three games.

“These are two teams that are fairly evenly matched,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “We’re playing nose-to-nose, blue-collar hockey and it’s not going to be easy. The hard way is going to be the only way in this series. There was no easy ice… you have to fight and claw for every inch of real estate out there. There’s no panic. We were in the same situation before and we look forward.”

[Click here for complete Stanley Cup Playoff coverage of the New York Islanders]

Marchand appeared to catch Semyon Varlamov asleep on the game-winning goal, which came from a bad angle. Marchand fired the puck from below the hash marks and beat Semyon Varlamov on his glove side.

“I don’t really have an answer for you right now. Just kind of a weird shot and the puck found the net,” Varlamov said about the goal.

Varlamov had played well for a better part of the night. He finished the game with 39 saves in the loss on Thursday.

It was his second consecutive start in the New York Islanders series with Boston. The veteran netminder helped keep the New York Islanders in the game for the second and third period when Boston was at its most lethal.

He made 34 stops through the second and third periods, which included several key saves on penalty kills in the third period.

“He’s been outstanding for us all year,” Jean-Gabriel Pageau said about Varlamov. “He made huge saves for us tonight and kept us in the game. That’s what we need out of him.”

Tuukka Rask finished the night with 28 stops for Boston. Rask came up big as well with his biggest stops coming in the overtime period when he calmly turned away the Islanders’ best chances of the night.

Jordan Eberle fired a shot from outside that Rask turned away, but the rebound went right to Barzal, who quickly fired the rebound and had his attempt stopped. Marchand scored the winning goal moments later.

“I thought both teams had really good looks all game,” Barzal saidl. “For the most part, we had some really good stretches where we pushed the pace. The crowd got behind us, we were really buzzing.”

Craig Smith scored the game’s opening goal 5:52 into the first period. Taylor Hall stripped Mathew Barzal of the puck and sent the play the other way. Hall was able to get the puck back and then fed Smith in the high slot for the goal.

Thursday had been Smith’s first game back after missing Game 2 with a lower-body injury.

Barzal evened the game at one late in the third period off of his first goal of the playoffs. Kyle Palmieri went to try and put a bouncing puck on net but it went wide and ricochetted off the board where Barzal picked it up.

The New York Islanders star wrapped around the net and stuffed the puck past the leg of Rask to even the score with 5:26 left in regulation. The goal was Barzal’s first of the postseason.

Game 4 is on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. back at the Coliseum.

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