Brad Marchand’s seeing-eye shot in OT gives Bruins 2-1 series lead over Islanders

Brad Marchand scored 3:36 into overtime Thursday night as the visiting Boston Bruins edged the New York Islanders, 2-1, in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference second-round series.

The Bruins lead the best-of-seven series two games to one. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday night in Uniondale.

Brad Marchand gives Bruins 2-1 series lead

The Islanders were outshot 39-24 in regulation but opened the overtime with momentum following Mathew Barzal’s goal with 5:26 left. New York had five of the first six shots before Marchand, leaping over the boards in a shift change, took a pass from Long Island native Charlie McAvoy and fired an angled shot that sailed past defenseman Ryan Pulock and over the far shoulder of Semyon Varlamov.

“Obviously not a great one, but any puck, especially in overtime, has a chance to go in,” Marchand said. “That’s always something I think every team talks about going into overtime is you can’t pass up a shot, and that’s another example of it.”

Craig Smith scored in the first for the Bruins. Goalie Tuukaa Rask made 28 saves.

Varlamov recorded 39 saves.

The Islanders outshot the Bruins 7-5 in the first, but Smith, who missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury, put Boston ahead a little less than six minutes after faceoff.

Barzal and the Bruins’ Taylor Hall battled each other for the puck as they skated into the Boston zone. Hall finally won the duel and handed the puck off to Matt Grzelyck, who raced up the neutral zone before dishing back to Hall, who was stationed at the right faceoff circle. Hall passed to Smith, whose shot from the slot sailed beyond the outstretched stick of Jordan Eberle and over Varlamov’s glove at the 5:52 mark.

Rask and Varlamov came up big

bruins islanders playoffs
Jun 3, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; Boston Bruins players celebrate after defeating the New York Islanders in overtime of game three of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams had plenty of chances during a scoreless second, during which the Bruins held a 13-8 shot advantage. The Islanders had four shots during a power play created when David Pastrnak was whistled for slashing, but Rask stopped Anthony Beauvillier from point-blank range with 10:15 left.

Varlamov turned away back-to-back shots in the crease by David Krejci and Smith with a little more than five minutes left. Those near-misses began a period-ending sequence in which the Bruins had eight of the final nine shots, including five unanswered in the final 2:58.

The Bruins continued peppering Varlamov in the third. Smith was stymied at the doorstep a little more than a minute into the period and Chris Wagner couldn’t finish a wrap-around eight minutes in for Boston, which outshot the Islanders 15-4 to open the third before collecting four more shots after Josh Bailey was whistled for tripping at the 11:04 mark.

Barzal finally tied it for the Islanders with 5:26 left when his second attempt of a wraparound trickled between Rask’s legs. New York almost took the lead with 3:15 left, when Rask cradled a point-blank breakaway by Beauvillier off a Bruins turnover.

“Tuukka made a great save,” Barzal said. “Usually in those situations, I thought I was in tight and just wanted to sneak one five-hole, but he was there. He was big all night for them as was ‘Varly.’ So it’s unfortunate.”

The Islanders went on a power play with 2:15 left after Sean Kuraly was called for cross-checking, but they generated just one shot.

–Field Level Media