Mathew Barzal has gotten some heat these playoffs. That backlash has been warranted due to the fact that he’s yet to provide a goal in the postseason and has just four points through eight games. With that being said though, he stepped his game up in last night’s game two matchup against the Bruins which definitely aided in the Islanders’ 4-3 overtime victory.
For starters, he gained an assist on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s power play goal in the second that gave the Isles their first two-goal lead of the series. Besides the helper, Barzal had a golden opportunity on a breakaway but failed to convert. That chance alone showed he was fighting hard and trying to convert on every chance that he came his way during the game.
It was easily Barzal’s best game of the postseason by a wide margin. Clearly, head coach Barry Trotz agreed.
“He was good.” the Isles’ head coach said after the game. “He was dangerous, yeah that line was really good tonight. He was dancing, he was going to the hard areas and was fighting for his inches and they had a hard time containing him and that’s what we need.”
Game two might have been a real turning point for Barzal. And now with the next two games on Coliseum ice, he should be able to turn up his game even further as he is probably dying for his opportunity to get the essential first goal.
Before Monday’s win, Barzal’s most productive game of this postseason came in the game four win over Pittsburgh in round one at home. So that’s a great sign. These next two games could very well define how the rest of this series plays out.
Barzal has contributed mostly through assists and he will most definitely continue to do so in that manner if he repeats last night’s performance. He’s got too much skill behind him to not keep generating chances, which is why Barzal shouldn’t be counted out to make even more impact moving forward.
What he did last night was set the example right off the bat on behalf of his team.
Game three on Thursday will be another chance for Barzal to get his name on the scoresheet. If he does start scoring, it just might be what Barzal needs to open the floodgates for him. In game two. he did everything but score, but Barzal played like the guy the Isles have needed, which is hopefully the start of things to come.
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