Matthew Barzal skated under the bright lights of the Colosseum in Nassau with his helmet off, pumping his fist and repeatedly shouting “our house” at a furious crowd of 12,000 until his name was announced as the first star of the night.
The 23-year-old Barzal not only scored the winning goal in the islanders’ 4-1 victory over the Bruins on Saturday night, but also retained the continued possession of the puck, which led to a decisive equalization of the game.
Casey Cizicas and Jean-Gabriel Pajo threw empty nets for a good measure at the end of the third period, as the islanders tied the second round of the playoffs in two matches per piece.
Barzal, who hit a bouncing puck at 1:03 p.m. in the third to give the Islanders a 2-1 lead, had just scored his first goal since Match 3 on Thursday. Despite Barzal’s efforts at the start of the playoffs to enter the result, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said that the center of the top line is focused on efficiency away from the puck and that the points will come soon enough.
They really have. And in the deadline.
“Honestly, this is the playoffs,” Barzal said after his second night of two points in the post-season period. “As much as I want to produce every night, it’s just so strong there, and sometimes it’s just not that easy. What’s more, when tonight doesn’t come offensive, just make sure I’m not on the ice for any goals against or blocking or just trying to get the puck out. Just playing sound hockey, a lot of shifts are only 50-50 and you just have to miss it.
“So when things don’t go offensively in the playoffs, it actually comes down to that, just a battle for the boys.”
The Islanders fell 1-0 at the start of the second period after the Bruins took advantage of the power play with a goal by David Craychi. Barzal repulsed Boston’s fourth liner, Curtis Lazar, with a bit of a sharp slide on the boards before heading to Kyle Palmieri for the shot in front to equalize 1-1 at 6:38.
It is hard to ignore that Barzal and Palmieri have scored two goals together in the last two games, with Palmieri at the forefront of replacing Leo Komarov, who both times took his breath away on the bench after a penalty.
Asked if he was tempted to put Palmieri in Komarov’s place on the top line with Barzal and Jordan Eberle, Trots replied before the game that it had been considered. Trotz succumbed to his decisions in the squad after the victory.
“I think Palms is pretty valuable for this line that Pageau is on, this line produces for us,” he said. “You can play fantasy hockey whatever you want, Leo is good with Barzi and when I put Palms there, they were good. But both times it was after turning on the power or just a coincidence when the boys had equipment problems or little markings. “
Trotz added that he felt that the criminal assassination gave the Icelanders some impetus to upgrade. When Kreichi scored through a quarrel in front of the goalkeeper of the islanders Semyon Varlamov at 3:57 of the second, Trotz challenged the goalkeeper’s intervention. The goal was confirmed and the islanders were sent back in the criminal murder.
“We had a huge criminal murder on this challenge and beyond [Barzal’s] The line came out right after that and they were pretty determined, “said Trotz. “I thought the criminal murder gave us a boost, and then obviously when we scored right away, it really made us go in the right direction.” I liked Matt’s game, he was dangerous all night and he kept putting the puck net and setting. That way you will score a goal in the playoffs, and he is doing it right now. “