Sometimes there isn’t any explanation.
Sometimes it’s simply hockey.
Otherwise, how would you clarify the truth that on an evening when the Islanders did nearly as good a job as potential blanketing and denying the all-powerful Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak line, it was nonetheless Marchand who recorded the winner … and in additional time, no much less?
And how would you clarify Semyon Varlamov, who performed spectacularly via the match, epically so going through third-period strain each at even-strength and on a Boston energy play whereas his group trailed by a aim, permitting a marginal one (at finest) to determine the match?
This was a terrific playoff sport that shook down the thunder and wakened the echoes on the Coliseum. It may have been Islanders-Bruins 1980, so fierce was the competitors by which nothing was given and all was earned. It was a sport that demanded a cleaner ending, although our mates on the different finish of the Mass Pike would certainly protest that remark.
No, it wasn’t that the Bruins didn’t earn their victory. Of course they did. But you’d have favored to see the sport finish on an clever aim … possibly on a breakaway the best way Game 2 ended on Casey Cizikas’ solo sprint in Boston on Monday. But as an alternative of concluding on a bang, it got here to an finish on a whimper when Marchand scooped a bad-angle shot from the neighborhood of the left nook that someway discovered a sliver of house to beat Varlamov at 3:36 for 2-1 in the game and 2-1 in the series.
It appeared unfair someway that the Islanders, who have been skating downhill within the OT whereas the B’s iced the puck thrice inside the first 3:15, would lose this fashion. Again, although, that was probably not the prevailing opinion within the Boston room.
“It’s a seeing-eye puck that hits almost a one-inch hole,” Barry Trotz mentioned. “It’s a shot that [Varlamov] will want back but he’ll let it go, no different than he’s done many, many times before. His temperament is fine.”
There isn’t any means that Varlamov will probably be a scapegoat for this, not after his splendid work within the third whereas the Bruins pounded eight photographs on him via the primary 3:45 and 19 photographs via the primary 13:00. Except for lacking butt-ends and slashing, you can have closed your eyes and imagined that it was Money Billy Smith in aim for the great guys.
The J-G Pageau line, with Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac on the flanks, smothered the Bergeron unit at even-strength. Mat Barzal, whose compelled neutral-zone turnover triggered the push the opposite means on which Craig Smith scored the 1-0 aim at 5:52 of the opening interval, responded as if he took it personally.
No. 13 danced and battled and received one-on-ones and was across the puck all through. And he canceled the aim towards by tucking one in towards Tuukka Rask to tie it at 14:32 of the third interval. Just two minutes later, Anthony Beauvillier took a headman go from Josh Bailey and darted in alone on Rask (with Connor Clifton bothering No. 18 from his left), only to be denied on a backhand. Beauvillier, whom you’d belief with the puck on his stick at any time, additionally was stopped on a first-period breakaway, this one a wrist shot to the blocker.
Rask is one of the superior postseason goaltenders of this time, a lifetime 57-44 with a 2.18 GAA and .927 save share. The Islanders tried all evening to get into his kitchen however didn’t have a lot success. It is less complicated mentioned than performed, after all, however beginning with Saturday’s Game 4, they’ll have to do a greater job of getting to the blue paint and at the least disturbing the thus-far unflappable Finn.
“Trust me, yes, we have to,” Trotz mentioned. “It’s playoff hockey. We’re going to have to get to the inside a bit of extra and so they’re doing a great job towards us on that. But sure, completely, we’re going to have to get a bit of greasier, a bit of more durable on them.
“Both teams are trying to do it but it’s not as easy as it sometimes looks.”
Actually, it didn’t look simple in any respect on this one and it hasn’t appeared simple in any respect via the primary three video games. Nothing has come simple. Nothing has come for free … effectively, besides possibly for the game-winning aim on this Game 3.
How do you clarify it? How do you clarify stopping the Bergeron line only to have one of its parts win the sport?
It’s hockey, that’s the way you clarify it.
Glorious high-stakes hockey.