Mat Barzal already has a lot of accomplishments on his resume. After Sunday, he can now add playoff overtime goal scorer.
Barzal scored 4:28 into the overtime period to give the New York Islanders a 2-1 win and a 3-0 series lead over the Washington Capitals. The skilled forward took a pass from Jordan Eberle and charged right to the Capitals net.
Barzal put the puck on his backhand and pushed it past the extended leg of Braden Holtby for the game-winner. The play was looked at briefly by the officials to make sure Barzal had been onsides when he took the pas from Eberle.
“It was actually a great play by the linesman not to call that. I think sometimes they get a little antsy and make the whistle,” Barzal said. “It was tight. I knew it was tight. I run that play a little bit in practice or even in games. Just try to sneak behind the D a little bit and time it perfectly just on the blue line. Great heads up play by Ebs.
“Great touch on the pass. Had that play a few times this year and looked five-hole, looked short side. Decided to take this one far post and it paid off.”
The goal came just after Semyon Varlamov made a pair of saves on Jakub Vrana on the other end of the ice. Vrana got behind the Islanders defense and was able to put two shots on net on a breakaway.
Varlamov had one of his strongest performances of the series in Game 3, turning aside several tough attempts by the Capitals. The New York Islanders starter finished the game with 22 saves.
“You have a goaltender like Varly back there,” Anders Lee said. “The way he’s seeing the puck right now, kicking out rebounds and it puts a lot of confidence in us in front of him. A lot of credit goes to him and our defensive core for blocking shots and boxing guys out. Not giving them second chances. Those rebounds, those extra pucks. Clearing those out of the way and when things break down in front of him, Varly has really stood really tall.”
The Islanders are the only team in the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 series lead. It is. the 11th time in franchise history that the Islanders have taken a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven series.
New York continued to limit Washington’s shots on Sunday. The Islanders held the Capitals to 23 shots through the 60-plus minute affair. It was the seventh game this postseason they have held an opponent to under 30 shots in a game.
The Islanders did get off to a quick start on Sunday, but the Capitals responded with plenty of pushback in the second and third periods. Washington took advantage of their second-period power play and went 1-for-2, while the Islanders went 0-for-4 on the man-advantage.
“You knew the team on the other side was going to come hard and they’re loaded,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “We just stayed with it. We got the really timely saves by Varly, especially in the overtime. … We’ve got another level in our game, which is really good to know.”
“you want to reward your goalie for bailing you out and you can bail him out with a win when you get that opportunity.”
trotz breaks down game 3. pic.twitter.com/rY5jl4o2lP
— x-new york islanders (@NYIslanders) August 16, 2020
The New York Islanders scored the game’s opening goal for the first time this series. Adam Pelech made a nice pass from the point to Anders Lee down low for the goa at 14:50 of the first period. The Islanders defenseman faked the shot then sent the puck over to Lee for the redirection.
The goal was Lee’s third of the series. He has scored in all three games against the Capitals in the First Round.
The Islanders lead didn’t last long into the second period after they gave the Capitals an early chance on the power play. Kuznetsov ripped a hard wrist shot from inside the faceoff circle that beat Varlamov.