Islanders eliminate Bruins, advance to Stanley Cup Semifinals
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — For the second time in two weeks, fans inside Nassau Coliseum watched their team close out a playoff series.
The Islanders eliminated the Bruins in Game 6 Wednesday with a 6-2 victory. They will now play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Semifinals for the second consecutive postseason. It’s the first time they’ve reached the NHL’s final four in back-to-back seasons since 1979-84.
Brock Nelson scored twice and Kyle Palmieri netted his seventh of the playoffs during a second period that spun the game in New York’s favor. The Islanders pounced on three different turnovers and made Boston pay each time.
The second period surge began when Nelson, who was coming in with speed, picked the puck off Matt Grzelcyk in the neutral zone and skated in to beat Tuukka Rask to break the 1-1 tie.
Seven minutes later Nelson added his sixth of the playoffs after another Bruins turnover — this one coming in their own end.
[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 schedule, TV info]
Palmieri finished the Bruins off four minutes after that, deflating a Boston team that had Cup hopes after adding Taylor Hall at the NHL trade deadline.
Boston had no answers for the Islanders in Game 6. New York won the physical battle; protected the puck better (9 takeaways for the Islanders); and fed off the energy inside the Coliseum while zapping the Bruins’ hopes with each goal.
“The place was rocking tonight,” Nelson said. “The team played great. One of those nights. [Islanders head coach] Barry [Trotz] touched on it a bit after the game: you’ll always remember moments like. That was a big game, big team effort from everybody. Just feels good having a full Coliseum there and playing for them.”
The 12,000 Islanders fans in attendance derisively chanted Rask’s name and responded to penalty calls with “New York Saints!” chants in reference to Bruce Cassidy’s comments about the officiating earlier this week. And they used the waning moments of the game to let the Lightning know they “want” them.
“We recognize this is a special moment for this building and the guys understood the magnitude of the game,” Trotz said. “I talked to them and I said when your career is all done, you’re gonna remember those special moments when you win a series and hopefully win a Stanley Cup, there’s gonna be special moments along the way. And we can make this a special moment by winning a series in the building — it’d be the second one we’ve done in this building — and trying to take the next step.”
Nassau Coliseum’s farewell party will continue on for another round with the defending champions coming to town next week.
BRUINS VS. ISLANDERS (NYI wins series 4-2)