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game recap

Islanders eliminate Bruins with Game 6 win, advance to Semifinals

Nelson scores twice in three-goal second period for New York

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

Nelson backhands second goal home

BOS@NYI, Gm6: Nelson scores second on his backhand

R2, Gm6: Brock Nelson corrals a Josh Bailey pass, moves the puck onto his backhand and nets his 2nd goal from in front to make it 3-1 Islanders

  • 00:45 •

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Brock Nelson scored two goals, and the New York Islanders eliminated the Boston Bruins with a 6-2 win in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday.

Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two assists for the Islanders, the No. 4 seed in the MassMutual East Division. Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves and won four of five starts in the best-of-7 series to help New York advance to the Stanley Cup Semifinals.

"Brock just had a child the other day with his wife, so he's been dealing with that," Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. "Game 4 (4-1 win on Saturday), he played that night with no sleep. He's been battling through that. … I think today, you saw him fresh. He settled in and played a Brock Nelson game."

New York has trailed 2-1 in each of the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It also rallied to win three in a row against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Whenever you have an opportunity to close a team out, you want to bring your best and I thought we've been able to do that both times now, against Pittsburgh and now Boston in front of great fans, great atmospheres," Nelson said. "It just feels right. You need to bring your A-game, and I thought we were able to do that again."

The Islanders will play the Tampa Bay Lightning, the No. 3 seed in the Discover Central Division, in the third round for the second straight season. The start of that best-of-7 series is to be determined.

Brad Marchand scored twice, and Tuukka Rask made 23 saves for the Bruins, the No. 3 seed in the East. They have lost in the second round two straight seasons after reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.

"It's disappointing," Marchand said. "We expected a longer run in this room. We felt like we had a group that could go really deep this year. I think that it just came down to a couple of breaks. They capitalized on a few opportunities that they got, and we didn't on the other end. So I think there's some games that we really outplayed them and came up short, but that's playoffs."

Travis Zajac gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 8:52 of the first period on the rebound of Noah Dobson's shot from the point.

Video: BOS@NYI, Gm6: Zajac nets Dobson rebound from in front

Marchand tied it 1-1 on the power play with a wrist shot from the right face-off circle at 17:36 after the Bruins failed to convert on a 14-second two-man advantage.

Kyle Palmieri nearly gave New York the lead in the final second of the first period, but his turnaround shot in the left circle hit the crossbar.

Nelson worked his way around defenseman Matt Grzelcyk and scored on the rush with a wrist shot from the slot to make it 2-1 at 5:20 of the second period.

"He's an elite talent, there's no question about that," Bailey said of Nelson. "I think [Anthony Beauvillier] and I are fortunate to get the opportunity to play with him. Big-game player. I think he probably doesn't get enough recognition for what he does defensively out there, but really just a complete 200-foot player, been a real leader for us and a big reason why we're sitting here talking."

Video: BOS@NYI, Gm6: Nelson scores in stride after takeaway

Varlamov preserved the lead with a pad save on Charlie Coyle's backhand at 11:38.

Nelson then scored his second of the game on a backhand after a centering feed from Bailey to make it 3-1 at 12:39.

"How many times do you see that? You get a big save and you go down and score," Trotz said. "'Varly' was solid for us. He wasn't as worked over as he was in Boston (40 saves in Game 5 on Monday), but he was solid."

Palmieri stole the puck from Grzelcyk in front of the net and stuffed a shot past Rask to give the Islanders a 4-1 lead at 16:07.

Video: BOS@NYI, Gm6: Palmieri powers puck past Rask in close

Marchand scored on the power play with a backhand to cut it to 4-2 at 5:38 of the third period.

Cal Clutterbuck (59 seconds remaining) and Ryan Pulock (48 seconds left) scored empty-net goals for the 6-2 final.

Boston was held to five shots in the third period.

"They play well in this building," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "They play a better defensive game in this building than they did in ours. Why that is, I don't know. Sometimes it's just the energy, the juice of matchups. There's a bunch of different things that could go into that. I think they knew tonight that if they locked it down that would give them the best chance to win.

"They probably didn't want to get into a trade-chances type of game, and they have good defensive players. Like, they're a little bit underrated in that regard, the Pageaus of the world. He does a good job. There's a reason why they employ him against [Patrice] Bergeron's line."

NOTES: Pageau and Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield each was plus-4. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy was minus-4 in 25:21. … Marchand tied Peter McNab for the most goals in Boston history in elimination games (nine). … Bruins center Curtis Lazar did not play because of a lower-body injury sustained in Game 5. Forward Jake DeBrusk returned after being a healthy scratch Monday. He was minus-2 with two shots on goal and four hits in 10:15. … Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) missed a third straight game, and defenseman Kevan Miller (undisclosed) missed a seventh in a row. … Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body) missed a seventh straight game.

Video: Nelson, Islanders eliminate Bruins with Game 6 win

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