Don't lock The Barn doors yet! Moving Day has been put on hold..
Series tied 3-3
I - NYI 4; WAS 1
II - WAS 4; NYI 3
III - NYI 2; WAS 1
IV - WAS 2; NYI 1
V - WAS 5; NYI 1
GAME SIX FINAL
New York Islanders: Long Island's Swan Song Takes Flight To The Nation's Capital For A Game 7 Showdown Against Caps.
The Islanders are barnstorming to Washington intent on extending Long Island's final season of NHL hockey. With a Game 7 victory over the Capitals Monday night, the Nassau Coliseum would be ensured of at least two more games, not to mention a second round match-up against the New York Rangers.
But, if Saturday's clash against the Caps indeed belatedly turns into the final game at the old Barn, it was a fine one.
Coach Capuano must first be credited for making adjustments after Game 5's debacle.
The captain, John Tavares then led the way with a 1st period goal at the 6:56 mark. However, when the stripes whistled Tavares for slashing at 19:27, John Carlson converted an Alex Ovechkin feed for a game tying power play goal with just 0:05 left in the period.
After a scoreless 2nd period, Long Island's hero emerged midway through the 3rd. At the 10:33 mark, Washington overplayed John Tavares in the corner, leaving Nikolay Kulemin all alone to work the puck through Braden Holtby for a 2-1 Islanders lead.
Cal Clutterbuck sealed the Islanders victory for their frenzied fan base with an empty-netter 0:53 shy of the final buzzer.
Once again, the Islanders did a fine job minimizing Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, whom combined to take just 4 SOG. However, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Joel Ward, and Evgeny Kuznetsov all registered 5 or better.
Working overtime on the blueline, Johnny Boychuk logged 27:00 minutes, and Nick Leddy put in 28:59 minutes of ice time.
Washington's lone score came with a man-advantage. Otherwise, Jaroslav Halak effectively outlasted Braden Holtby, facing 39 shots on goal and making 38 saves to extend Long Island's run by at least one more game.
Game Six was a very physical affair, that devolved all the way through the final buzzer, and beyond.
A total of 8 penalties were assessed at the tail end of the game; 4 for Washington, 4 for the Isles. Cross checking and roughing penalties came standard, but only Cal Clutterbuck was levied with a 10-minute misconduct.
An empty-net goal aside, the Islanders have scored just 6 times in the last 4 games. John Tavares has 2 goals in the series, and may very well need to score another on Monday. Meanwhile, the power play is now 0 for 13 in 6 games. Ideally, the Isles need a goal from their special teams now more than ever in order to off-set any potential (Game 7) scoring by (WAS) what is still the #1 power play in the league.
Should the Islanders fall in Game 7 at Washington, they may as well pack a bag full of remorse for their trip to Brooklyn over losing Game 2 in Braden Holtby's absence. Although 3 pucks found net, the Islanders must ponder having only mustered a mere 21 shots on goal. That made back-up goalie Philipp Grubauer's performance good enough.
At the other end, and after a fine 1st period, the Isles played poorly in front of Jaroslav Halak whom faced 35 shots (18 in the 2nd period), and allowed a pair of 2nd period goals, and another pair in the 3rd.
The balance of Long Island hockey now lies in the success or failure of Game 7. The move to Brooklyn either commences post haste by midnight Monday, or gets delayed through another round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The New York Rangers await the winner of this series.
One last Rangers/Islanders post-season battle would be epic.