Islanders Advance to Semifinals for Second Straight Year

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Two weeks after they gained their first-round sequence earlier than a equally cacophonous crowd at Nassau Coliseum, the Islanders had an opportunity for one more series-clincher recreation at house.

They didn’t disappoint, because the Islanders completed off the Bruins with a 6-2 win in Game 6 of their second-round sequence.

The Islanders broke a 1-1 tie with three second-period objectives, two by Brock Nelson and one by Kyle Palmieri. Semyon Varlamov, who entered play with a .925 goals-against common, had one other stellar recreation with 23 saves. The Islanders added two empty-net objectives within the third interval.

The Islanders reached the semifinals for a second straight season and can once more face Tampa Bay. Last yr, the Lightning beat the Islanders in six video games earlier than defeating Dallas to win the Stanley Cup.

The 2020 sequence performed out in a bubble surroundings in Edmonton, Alberta, however this yr’s showdown would be the first semifinal on Long Island since 1993. Tampa Bay superior after beating the Carolina Hurricanes in 5 video games.

“It’s a great opportunity seeing them again in the semifinals,” mentioned Josh Bailey, an Islanders ahead who had two assists. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

Travis Zajac opened the scoring at eight minutes 52 seconds of the primary interval, placing the puck previous Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask.

Zajac, 36, who with Palmieri was a late-season acquisition from the Devils, despatched the Coliseum crowd right into a frenzy along with his first purpose of the postseason.

Zajac had performed his complete profession, greater than 1,000 video games, for the Devils earlier than the commerce and had changed the injured Oliver Wahlstrom within the lineup for the ultimate recreation of the opening-round sequence in opposition to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Boston’s Brad Marchand scored each objectives for the Bruins on energy performs, one at 17:36 of the primary to tie the sport and the second within the third interval.

But the Islanders — whose earlier 5 wins this postseason got here after that they had allowed the opening purpose — performed with resolve and willpower at even energy, forcing the Bruins to the perimeter and fiercely defending the house in entrance of Varlamov.

“It was just a great team effort,” Zajac mentioned. “We had contributions from everyone. It was an electric atmosphere and I liked the way we battled.”

He added: “It was nice to play with the lead.”

Nelson scored his fifth purpose of the playoffs at 5:20 of the second interval with assists from Bailey and Nick Leddy after which gave the Islanders a two-goal cushion at 12:39. Palmieri scored his team-best seventh of the postseason at 16:07, placing the Islanders up by three.

Hours earlier than the pivotal Game 6, Andy Greene — acquired late final season by the Islanders — marveled on the likelihood to play along with his former Devils teammates in such high-stakes video games.

“You have to know the moment at hand and embrace it,’’ said the 38-year-old Greene, who had also been a career Devil before the trade. “It’s been great playing with Trav and Palms and being on a run. It’s been cool to be able to share it with them.”

Now the three former Devils — who have been all acquired by Lou Lamoriello, their former boss in New Jersey, who’s now the staff president and normal supervisor of the Islanders — will play on.

And a season by which the Islanders performed their first house recreation with no crowd in opposition to these identical Bruins will proceed with 12,000 followers waving orange towels whereas chanting and singing within the final video games of the Coliseum.

“As we started to have fans back with everyone getting vaccinated, it’s giving it a lot more meaning,” Islanders Coach Barry Trotz mentioned. “It’s a great feeling.”

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