The New York Islanders and Boston Bruins traveled back to Nassau Coliseum for Game 6 of the series. New York had an opportunity to close out the series and move on to the Stanley Cup Semifinals. Tuukka Rask went up against Semyon Varlamov in the goaltending matchup. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy faced criticism after Game 5 for calling out the NHL referees. As a punishment, Cassidy was fined $25,000. Furthermore, Nick Ritchie was fined for elbowing Scott Mayfield in Game 5. If the Islanders won, they would move on. If not, Game 7 would be in Boston on Friday.
The beginning pace of the game was fast and full of good chances. In the first three minutes, Boston fired four shots on the net while New York had three. After even six shots from both teams, the Islanders broke the ice. Travis Zajac scored his first goal of the 2021 playoffs by burying a rebound. Noah Dobson and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were credited with the assists. However, the Bruins got a chance to tie the game with a power play. Anthony Beauvillier sat in the box for tripping Charlie McAvoy. During the power play, the Bruins were given 14 seconds of a 5-on-3 opportunity after Taylor Hall was tripped by Casey Cizikas. Consequently, Brad Marchand scored to even the game at one apiece. The period ended with New York leading in shots 11 to 9.
The beginning seconds of the second period began with McAvoy injured; Kyle Palmieri caught him with an elbow and the trainers came out to check on McAvoy. At 5:20 into the period, Brock Nelson stole the puck from Matt Grzelcyk and went on a breakaway to get the puck past Rask. After the Islanders regained the lead, McAvoy returned to the game. However, the Bruins would just be pushed further out of the game. Nelson quickly got his second of the game off of a feed from Josh Bailey. Then, four minutes later, Palmieri showed no quit on a play and stuffed one in past Rask. New York took a commanding 4-1 lead into the last period. Both teams fired ten shots on the net in the second frame.
Boston had an obvious push to start the period. However, the Islanders stood their ground to shake them off. But, Matt Martin took a tripping penalty against Jarred Tinordi to send the Bruins to the power play. Marchand got his second of the game to cut the lead to two for New York. After the Bruins goal, they were shut down by the Islanders. With five minutes remaining, the Bruins only had two shots on goal. To close out the game, with 58 seconds remaining, Cal Clutterbuck found the empty net. Then, Ryan Pulock added salt to the wound by potting another empty-netter. The final score was 6-2 and the Islanders knocked Boston out of the playoffs.
The Islanders were able to eliminate the Bruins and win the series 4-2. Now, New York will face its toughest challenge and go against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the defending champions. Moreover, the Lightning were responsible for eliminating the Islanders from the playoffs in 2020.
The Islanders will be looking for revenge but will have to be at their best. Through 11 playoff games, Tampa Bay has only lost three. New York was able to figure Boston out and win three straight games to close out the series. The next round will be a tough test, but one the Islanders could ace. If they are able to produce offense in a similar fashion to what they have been doing, the series will be a close and exciting one.