UNIONDALE, NY – Brad Marchand knew he didn’t have a great angle on his shot in overtime. He just fired the puck over the net and it was overtaken by the Islanders’ goalkeeper Semyon Varlamov.
Marchand scored 3:36 in overtime as the Boston Bruins beat New York 2-1 in Game 3 on Thursday night to take the lead in the second-round playoff series.
In the extra period, Charlie McAvoy brought the puck up the ice on the left and passed to Marchand, who skated along the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot into the top right corner.
“Obviously not a great one, but any puck, especially in overtime, has a chance to go in,” Marchand said. A shot can’t pass, and this is another example of that. … I tried to find it on the net and it found its way. Got a lot of relief. “
Varlamov wasn’t sure what happened on the shot and said he needed to see a replay.
“It was a strange shot, but Puck found the net,” he said.
Craig Smith also scored for Boston, and Tukka Rusk blocked 28 shots—including five in overtime—as the Bruins took a 2–1 lead in a best-of-seven series.
“I try to be patient and calm there,” Rusk said. “It doesn’t matter what the situation is. You’re just trying to protect it and give your team a chance to win, and luckily we took advantage of that.”
Matthew Barzal scored for New York late in the third period, and Varlamov – making his second straight start after Ilya Sorokin went into four straight games – finished with 39 saves.
“Both teams were working hard,” Barzal said. “It’s tough for about 10 minutes and then it’s the playoffs, so you turn the page. We know there’s a lot of cool stuff to build tonight, so we’re excited. We’ve been on this earlier against Pittsburgh as well.” position, so we’re just going to grind.”
Game 4 is Saturday night at the Nassau Coliseum.
Boston got their first power play 1:38 in the third period and made five shots on goal during the advantage, but could not beat Varlamov.
Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlow was helped out of the ice after a hard hit to the right of Rask by Cal Clutterbuck near the end boards for a little more than six minutes in the third. This left Boston with five defense personnel. Cassidy said Carlo was talking in the locker after the game and would be reevaluated on Friday.
Varlamov, who had 21 stops in the third period, made another brilliant save on David Pasternak at 7:11, making it a goalless game. Then, on his second power play with Boston of nine minutes duration, Varlamov made several more good stops to keep it a one-goal game.
Barzal leveled the score with a brilliant individual effort. He went behind the Bruins’ net to get the puck, came back to the right of Rask and tried to fill a wraparound. The goalkeeper blocked the effort, but Barzal continued jabbing on the puck and knocked it out in the second attempt for his first goal this post season.
“I thought we were clearly the better team,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “Obviously they came out in overtime with a lot of juice from their target. Tukka made some decent saves from the crowd there, and we got a lucky target, one I thought we deserved. We had enough good looks that she withstood a ton that was off the net. From there that one finally found its way. “
Varlamov stopped Marchand on Boston’s first shot on the second goal in a 7 1/2-minute attempt, “Var-li! Var-li!” from home crowd.
After several big hits from both sides, Pasternak was whistled to slash Ryan Pulak, putting the Islanders into their second power play of the game. Rask made a brilliant blocking save on Brock Nelson in nine minutes, and then denied the front to Anthony Beauviller in less than a minute.
Varlamov made a brilliant stop on a shot from David Krejci’s left circle, with less than six minutes left in the middle period.
Smith, back in the lineup after missing Game 2, gave the Bruins a 1–0 lead in the game 5:52 as he received a pass from Taylor Hall and beat Varlamov to the glove side from the middle of the circle. It was his second goal later in the season and came on Boston’s second shot on goal.
Bouillier had a breakaway opportunity less than two minutes later, but his forehand shot was denied by Rask. Bruins’ Mike Reilly nearly doubled the lead with 6:20, but his shot went off the goalpost.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy scored his 33rd playoff win, breaking the tie with Art Ross to finish only second on the franchise list. Claude Julian is in first place with 57 postseason wins.
For the fourth time in his four later this season, Varlamov dropped a goal in the first three shots to start a game. He allowed Brian Rust to score 3:22 in Game 2 of the first round and Chris Letang in 2:01 of Game 3 against Pittsburgh. On Monday night, Boston’s Charlie Coyle scored 2:38 in Game 2 of the series.
Nassau Coliseum’s capacity was increased to 12,000 – the largest since the start of the pandemic. This was raised to 1,700 during the season after fans were allowed to participate, and was raised to 6,800 for first-round games 3 and 4 against Pittsburgh. This was then raised to 9,000 for the series-cleaning Game 6 against the Penguins. Games 1 and 2 of the series in Boston saw sales of 17,400.
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