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New York Islanders

Takeaways: Power Play Carries Islanders to Game 5 Victory Over Bruins

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It wasn’t easy, especially over the final 10 minutes, but the New York Islanders took Game 5.

After holding a three-goal lead at the start of the third period, New York held on for an eventual 5-4 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. The Isles can clinch the series with a win at Nassau Coliseum in Game 6.

New York erupted on the man advantage, scoring three in total on the power play before the final whistle.

Let’s examine this one a little deeper.

Power play, opportunistic offense 

This was not a pretty statistical game for the Islanders, far from it. They were out-shot by a wide 44-19 margin. At 5-on-5, they were out-attempted 64-30.

So if you didn’t watch this game, you might be wondering, “How the heck did the Islanders win this game?”

Well, part of the reason was they took advantage of the chances they did have. They clocked in a 75 percent conversion rate on the power play, getting goals from Mathew Barzal, Kyle Palmieri and Jordan Eberle.

At even strength, they cashed in on golden chances in the slot from Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey to score five within the first 45 minutes of the game.

Whether it was to shake things up of the Islanders getting to him, Tuukkaa Rask was pulled before the start of the third period. Shooting percentage can be key when you’re not creating much offensively, and the Islanders scored five times on their 19 shots. If you’re not going to get much on net, that’s how you’re going to win.

The other reason would be…

Semyon Varlamov 

He seems to be letting in a goal in the opening minutes of every game he plays in this postseason, but he’s been close to rock solid the rest of most games. This wasn’t an easy one for him, especially in the stretch drive of the third period when Boston seemingly controlled play for the final 15 minutes.

But Varlamov held on when it mattered most and made 40 saves to keep the Islanders in the game. After a shaky first series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Varlamov has rallied to win three times this round. He now has a .923 save percentage this postseason.

Barzal stays hot

Mathew Barzal didn’t score a goal coming into the second round. He’s now scored three times in as many games.

With the Islanders trailing 1-0 early in this one, he answered back at the end of the first period on the power play. Taking the puck from the far side wall, Barzal skated down the right circle and went top shelf over Rask to get the Islanders on the board.

He scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 and added this one to his ledger to get the Islanders back into the game. He added an assist later on and now has nine points over all this postseason, which is tied for second on the team.

He’s come alive in this series as the Islanders are finally getting production from their top line. Speaking of which, Eberle also finished the night with a goal and an assist and now has eight points in the playoffs.

New York Saints

Boston coach Bruce Cassidy was not pleased after the game with what he perceived as a lack of calls in his team’s favor.

The officiating has been questionable — to say the least — but he took his frustration out in plain terms afterwards.

Barry Trotz was asked to comment after the game and gave a short retort back.

“I don’t know what he means by that. We were one of the least penalized teams in the league all year,” Trotz said. “You’ll have to ask him what he means by that.”
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