Mathew Barzal helps Islanders knock off Bruins, tie playoff series at 2-2

Jun 5, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period in game four of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Mathew Barzal scored the tie-breaking goal with 6:57 left in the third period Saturday night for the New York Islanders, who beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 4 of an East Division second-round series in Uniondale, N.Y.

The Islanders evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece, with Game 5 scheduled for Monday night in Boston.

A shot by Scott Mayfield bounced near the crease and to Barzal, who batted the puck out of the air and past Tuukka Rask.

Casey Cizikas added an empty-netter with 1:03 left, about 10 seconds after Rask bolted off the ice. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored another empty-netter with 2.4 seconds remaining.

Kyle Palmieri scored in the second period for the Islanders. Goalie Semyon Varlamov made 28 saves.

David Krejci scored in the second for the Bruins. Rask recorded 30 saves.

“That’s the way we’re built. That’s the way our roster has been created,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said after the game. “We know who we are. We don’t try to be someone else or someone who you want us to be.”

Isles and Bruins get nasty

The teams traded punches and misfires on prime scoring chances during a scoreless first.

Mayfield and the Bruins’ Taylor Hall brawled at the 7:28 mark. Just under two minutes later, Barzal was whistled for a high stick on Curtis Lazar, which yielded a scrum that featured most of the players on the ice until Matt Martin and Jarred Tinordi fought and earned five-minute majors apiece. Several other minor fracases broke out the rest of the period.

islanders bruins playoffs
Jun 5, 2021; Uniondale, New York, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield (24) and Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) fight during the first period in game four of the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams squandered opportunities in the waning minutes. The Islanders’ Anthony Beauvillier shuffled the puck a beat too long and had his backhander at the door smothered by Rask with 5:04 left.

A little more than two minutes later, Varlamov was almost completely out of the crease as the puck bounced to David Pastrnak to the left of the net, but Pastrnak’s shot rang off the far post.

Mathew Barzal helps Islanders tie series

The teams then swapped goals in a span of under three minutes early in the second.

The Bruins, on a power play generated when Martin was whistled for holding, took the lead following a frantic sequence in the crease.

Pastrnak’s shot was deflected by Varlamov, and Brad Marchand took at least two whacks at putting back the rebound before the puck skittered to Krejci, who tucked a shot behind Islanders defenseman Andy Greene and into the far corner of the net at the 3:57 mark.

The Islanders tied the score just 2:41 later.

Barzal, pestered along the right side of the Bruins zone by Lazar, finally broke free and headed behind the net, where he sent a pass beyond the outstretched stick of Matt Grzelcyk and to Palmieri. The Long Island native, positioned between Lazar and Charlie Coyle, fired a shot under Rask’s stick.

–Field Level Media