UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Brocktober traditionally isn’t for another couple of months, but the New York Islanders forward came up clutch when it counted on Wednesday night.
Brock Nelson had a three-point night, including a two-goal second period, that helped the Islanders defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 and clinched the First Round Series in six games. Wednesday marked the first time that the Islanders had clinched a series win on Nassau Coliseum ice since 1993.
Anthony Beauvillier, Kyle Palmieri and Ryan Pulock also scored for the Islanders and Ilya Sorokin made 34 saves in the win in front of a boisterous Nassau Coliseum crowd of 9,000 fans. The Islanders advance to face the Boston Bruins in the Second Round and it is the third consecutive year that the Islanders have made it out of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoff.
— Christian Arnold (@C_Arnold01) May 27, 2021
“A little bit of a crazy game,” Nelson said. “We spot them the lead, we battle back two or three times. This group sticks with it. The fans were rowdy, they were loud. Whenever we got the goal, they kept us going… It was awesome to have them back.”
The NHL has yet to schedule the start of the Second Round.
It was Nelson’s first goal of the night that evened the score for the third time on Wednesday. Beauvillier was able to skate into the zone and send the puck over to Josh Bailey. The longest-tenured Islander sent a quick cross-ice pass to Nelson, who tapped the puck in past Tristan Jarry to tie the game at three.
The New York Islanders took their first lead of the night 13 seconds later off a blast from the point by Pulock. New York won the offensive draw and moved the puck back to Pulock for the blast and the 4-3 lead.
Nelson scored his second of the evening after getting the puck in the offensive zone. He skated into the slot and sent a shot at Jarry. The puck was able to sneak through the pads of Jarry to give the Islanders the two-goal advantage.
Wanna see those 3 #Isles goals again?
Say no more! pic.twitter.com/ccmtZ2rhLn
— x – Isles on MSG+ Tonight (@IslesMSGN) May 27, 2021
“That’s the mindset that we have, that’s the leadership that we have,” Beauvillier said about the comeback. “We know one goal isn’t going to win the game so we want to stick with it, stick to the plan, and it’s the playoffs. There’s going to be ups and downs… There’s just lots of character in this room and we found a way to get it done.”
Wednesday marked the first time since Game 7 of the Islanders’ Second Round Series with the Philadelphia Flyers last season that Nelson recorded three points in a playoff game. Nelson has Seven points (three goals, four assists) through six playoff games thus far.
“A couple of nice plays up the rush Beau and Bails,” Nelson said. “Whenever you can kind of get that momentum and ride it, that’s huge. There’s going to be ups and downs, but you can get the crowd up and going, get the adrenaline flowing… that’s huge.”
Despite some early jump from the Islanders to start the game, it was Pittsburgh that drew first blood. Jeff Carter beat Sorokin with a shot that snuck through his pads to give his team the early 1-0 advantage.
Carter was able to get by Beauvillier and take a pass from Kasperi Kapanen to set up the goal. It was Carter’s fourth goal of the series.
The New York Islanders answered back moments later after they broke out of their own end in a similar fashion as Pittsburgh did on their goal. Beauvillier took a pass from Nelson and backhanded the puck over the glove of Jarry to tie the game at one at the 5:16 mark of the first period.
🚨BEAU TIES IT ALL UP🚨
WE IN THIS pic.twitter.com/CBJQpLWScf
— x – Isles on MSG+ Tonight (@IslesMSGN) May 26, 2021
However, the scoring barrage was far from over. Pittsburgh recaptured their lead on the power play at 11:12 after Jake Guentzel’s one-timer hit off the glove of Pulock and deflected past Sorokin.
The Islanders evened the score yet again just over a minute later when Palmieri scored on the rebound. Jean-Gabriel Pageau sent a floater of a shot on net that was stopped by Jarry, but the puck went right to Palmieri, who was able to put it back in at the 12:25 mark.
Jason Zucker gave Pittsburgh its third lead of the game when he deflected a shot in front of the net 1:53 into the second period to make it a 3-2 game.
“They were dialed in this morning, you could tell,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “I had a good feeling at the rink all day. I felt like this group was up for those challenges. We’re going to have a big challenge with the Boston Bruins and they’re playing very, very well… they have some game-changers and the perfection line… they’re a deep team that plays the right way. It’ll be an event for both teams.”
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