The New York Islanders came into game six with a 3-2 series lead on the Pittsburgh Penguins. The need to come out of last night with a win to push them into the second round wasn’t dire but could keep them from having to go back to Pittsburgh for a game seven. With that being said, the Isles played well in the first and were an even match for the Penguins as they concluded the period with a score of 2-2.
However, this all changed in the second period.
The Islanders’ push in the middle frame was something that we’re usually used to seeing from them come in third periods over the last few seasons. The Pens Jason Zucker managed to strike early into period two, but the Islanders quickly returned fire and set their game up for success.
The Islanders’ goal raid began with Brock Nelson who was set up beautifully by Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey to tie the game at three. Thirteen seconds later Ryan Pulock wanted in on the fun and added a tally of his own onto the board to give the Islanders their first lead of the game. The scoring didn’t stop there as Nelson got one more to conclude the Islanders impressive three-goal barrage from another feed by Beauvillier
“We wanted to come out and put together a good start. I am sure they were saying the same and try to take the crowd out of it and push us. When you have the lead in the series, try and push a team out, they’re going to come with everything.” Nelson said in an interview with MSG Networks. “It was a crazy game, but never out of reach or no quit in this team, we always try to fight back and were able to do that tonight.”
Scoring three times in a single period, it marked the second time in the series the Isles did it; the other being in game three last Thursday. However, previously they had gained their win in the third. In last night’s matchup, they took an earlier approach and then held their lead as the game continued. This then allowed them to wear down the Penguins as the clock ticked down and Pittsburgh faced elimination.
Additionally, the Islanders didn’t stop the momentum in the second as more chances were gained as the game continued which allowed the Islanders to stick with it.
With the next round being against the Boston Bruins, it is in the Islanders’ best interest to get that early lead in the first or second period as they had just done. Boston is a dominant team and have been one of the best in the NHL for the past few seasons now. With players like David Pastrnak, who is one the B’s more skilled scorers, the Islanders need to return fire with forwards showing up as they did in game six to present a fierce matchup and try to advance to the next round.