The New York Islanders defeat the Boston Bruins in game 4 by a score of 4-1. Mathew Barzal had a star showcase in this game, the game-winner, and an assist. This game was “Islanders hockey” at its finest. The Islanders were the better team all night and if it weren’t for Tuukka Rask it would’ve been a blow-out. Boston had a fit all night, but it was still tied with 7 minutes to go. The only Boston goal in this game was very controversial. Barry Trotz challenged the David Krejci goal, if it was waved off at first, it wouldn’t have counted. After the lost challenge, the Islanders undoubtedly gained all the momentum. The Nassau Coliseum was rocking, and it seemed like an amazing atmosphere. The series is tied back up at 2, it will certainly be a hard-fought and tight series. For both of these teams, this is war!
“Islanders hockey” at its finest
“Islanders hockey” is the defensive, gritty, and structured style of play Barry Trotz has implicated the past few years. It goes without saying, that this has been very effective. Tonight, the final two minutes of this game indeed was a spectacular showing of “Islanders hockey”. They’re up 2-1 in the game, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Brock Nelson, Leo Komarov, and Casey Cizikas keep the puck in the Boston zone, not letting Rask be pulled. This forechecking and pesky play, even so, leads to a Cizikas empty netter. Furthermore, this occurred all night, Boston had a lot of problems producing throughout the night. Even though the Bruins scored one, it wasn’t a goal that was at the Islanders fault. This is how this team wins games, they’ve done it all season and did it again tonight.
Barzal absolutely had a really dull start to these playoffs, but he is heating up. Two points tonight added on to the goal he had in game 3. He drew 2 penalties tonight but also took one. Following one of the penalties he drew, he muscled past the Bruins defense and passed it to an open Kyle Palmieri. Safe to say, Palmieri didn’t waste his opportunity, he scored. Barzal also had the game-winning goal getting down like Adrian Beltre batting the puck in baseball style. His celebration was also pretty nice. He looked like more of a force within the “Islanders hockey” system tonight. With his recent performance, has Barzal broken out of his playoff slump?
Varlamov saved the game for the Islanders
Semyon Varlamov didn’t give up a goal in the first five minutes, hallelujah! Varlamov gave up an early goal in his 4 previous playoff stats, this is certainly progress. He was great, the one goal he gave up could’ve been interference, and wasn’t his fault anyway. He got some help from his post, but he indeed was spectacular. Keeping up with Tuuka Rask all night, Varlamov kept his team in the game. Varlamov was key to this win and has been very good against the Bruins. The Russian goalie feeds into the team’s “Islanders Hockey” structure, saving some goals. He needs to limit his goals in the first five minutes, but he showed tonight that he can actually prevent those goals. Otherwise, Varlamov’s been great, there were definitely some questions on whether he or Ilya Sorokin would start. But, at least against Boston, Varlamov is the guy.
The Islanders beat Rask twice tonight, adding 2 more empty netters, they scored 4 times. They played great tonight, in front of the Coliseum crowd. The series is now tied at two. As it shifts to Boston, the Islanders need to play like they did tonight. Boston is a tough challenge, they truly are. This team showed how important “Islanders hockey” is to them. Boston does like to play this way too, but they have a better offense. This team doesn’t give up, they are truly relentless.