The Bruins and Islanders will return to Boston in a 2-2 deadlock following Saturday’s 4-1 final in Game 4 at Nassau Coliseum.
And for the Islanders, the Islanders was scored on perhaps the unlikeliest goal imaginable, as Mat Barzal batted a blocked shot out of midair and through Tuukka Rask 13 minutes into the third period.
In a scoreless draw through 20 minutes of action — and largely thanks to a gigantic Rask stop on a prime scoring chance from in tight by Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier — the Bruins were left holding their heads in their hands when they had nothing to show their work. Particularly after a chance from David Pastrnak, which rang off the post despite the wide-open net in front of No. 88 after Patrice Bergeron drew multiple Islander defenders and Semyon Varlamov his way.
But the draw wouldn’t last long following a Matt Martin penalty.
On the power play for the second time in Game 4, the Bruins broke through on Varlamov with a power-play goal scored by David Krejci at the 3:57 mark of the second period. With a sea of bodies in front of Varlamov, and Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand unable to get a handle on things, Krejci corralled the loose puck and ripped home his first of the postseason, which held up following a challenge from Islanders head coach Barry Trotz.
David Krejci opens the scoring on the power play.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) June 6, 2021
But the Islanders needed just 2:41 to respond, as Barzal put Curtis Lazar in a blender (which was set to send the fourth-line center to the box) and dished a puck to Kyle Palmieri for a shot through Rask for a 1-1 tie.
The goals quickly became an afterthought in the middle frame, however, as the Islanders and Bruins exchanged nastiness, headlined by heavy hits on the Bruins’ Taylor Hall (from Martin) and Charlie McAvoy (from Brock Nelson), along with a David Krejci “how’s your father?” cup-check to Barzal that was reviewed as a potential major.
That hateful pace and the even score remained through the majority of the third, too, until Barzal’s baseball-swing goal through Rask at the 13:03 mark of the third and final frame of action.
It was then that Pastrnak miss loomed large, and became official when Casey Cizikas added an insurance marker with an empty-net goal with 1:03 remaining in regulation.
Varlamov finished with 28 saves, while Rask took the loss behind a 30-of-32 performance in the B’s net.
Boston skated without defenseman Brandon Carlo in this contest after Carlo absorbed a high hit from the Isles’ Cal Clutterbuck in the third period of Thursday’s Game 3. Carlo did work out on the bike prior to the team’s morning skate, which is a positive, but the Bruins will consider Carlo day-to-day until he’s back on the ice and skating.
Game 5 will be Monday night at TD Garden, and will come with the always-unusual 6:30 p.m. start.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.