UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Boston Bruins tried to rough up Mathew Barzal in Game 4, but the New York Islanders star had the last laugh on Saturday night.
Barzal scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lead the Islanders to a 4-1 win over Boston and evened the best-of-seven series at 2-2. The goal was Barzal’s second of the playoffs and the second consecutive game he’s scored in during the Islanders series with Boston.
“Just the biggest game for us so far,” Barzal said. “We go down 3-1 to these guys headed back to TD Garden, that’s a death sentence. That was a huge game for us tonight. Everyone brought it.”
Saturday was the second straight game that Barzal scored a crucial goal late in the contest. He tied the game in the third period in Game 3 to force overtime.
Barzal scored the go-ahead goal with 6:57 left in the game when the Islanders forward batted the puck out of the air and past Tuukka Rask. Scott Mayfield fired the puck from the blue line and it hit off the skate of a Boston player in front of the net, causing it to pop into the air.
MAT BARZAL! 🚨
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) June 6, 2021
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now and to get that goal at that time, that’s the type of play he makes and he doesn’t miss those,” Casey Cizikas said. “He’s working extremely hard, he’s not backing down or letting up… it’s nice to see.”
Cizikas scored on the empty net at 18:57 of the third and Jean-Gabriel Pageau added a second empty netter at 19:57. Kyle Palmieri also scored for New York and Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves in his third straight start of the series.
Saturday was one of the most physical games of the series so far. The New York Islanders and Boston combined for 57 hits through the 60-minute contest and there were a pair of fights in the first period, which included Scott Mayfield and Taylor Hall dropping the gloves.
“I think the series has been great so far. We want to bring that physicality,” Scott Mayfield said.
In the second period, David Krejci speared Barzal in the groin during a battle in the corner, sending the 24-year-old to the ice in pain. Barzal didn’t miss any time because of the play and the Islanders received a two-minute power play.
New York went 0-for-2 on the man advantage, while Boston converted on one of their two chances.
“I’m alright now.,” Barzal said about the spear from Krejci. “I was a little surprised. I haven’t seen the clip yet but I felt it was a little vicious but it’s the refs call, a judgment call from them. I thought it was a tad vicious but it’s up to the refs and it doesn’t matter now.”
Boston once again found themselves in the lead first on Saturday night. With Boston on the power play, David Pastrnak flung the puck on net and created a scramble in front of Varlamov.
The puck eventually came loose and Devid Krejci was there to fire it past Varlamov at 3:57 of the second period.
The Islanders managed to answer back less than three minutes later with a goal of their own. With Boston about to be called on a delayed penalty, Barzal danced along the boards working his way around defenders and down behind the net.
Barzal then quickly sent the puck to Palmieri in the slot for the one-timer goal at 6:38 of the second to even the game at one.
“It was unbelievable out there,” Cizikas said. “Every guy came to play and right from the puck drop, we were banging, and bashing, and getting to the net.”