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Brad Marchand’s OT goal lifts Bruins to Game 3 win over Islanders

The Islanders trailed by a goal for nearly the entire game, tied it up with roughly 5 ½ minutes left in regulation and forced overtime. But, sometimes, no matter how many character plays a team makes, it will still fall short of the storybook comeback.

Such was the case Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum, when the Bruins’ Brad Marchand scored 3:36 into overtime to hand the Islanders a 2-1 loss in Game 3.

In the second consecutive overtime game between the teams, the Islanders dominated for a majority of the extra period, pouring on five shots that tested Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Marchand then flew down the left side and sniped one through Isles goalie Semyon Varlamov off a sharp angle, giving Boston a 2-1 edge in the second-round series.

“It’s a matter of inches,” said Mathew Barzal, whose first goal of the postseason was the game-tying tally at 14:34 of the third period. “Every game is so close.”

Forget inches, this series has been a matter of millimeters. Barzal saw it firsthand when he took a pass off the boards and stuffed in a wraparound that just squeezed by Rask to even the score 1-1 late in the third.

Bruins star Brad Marchand (center) celebrates with Patrice Bergeron after scoring the game-winning goal in the Islanders' 2-1 overtime loss in Game 3.
Bruins star Brad Marchand (center) celebrates with Patrice Bergeron after scoring the game-winning goal in the Islanders’ 2-1 overtime loss in Game 3.
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As tight as the first two games of the series were, Game 3 was neck-and-neck as both goaltenders put on a show. Following Bruins second-line winger Craig Smith’s goal just under six minutes into the game, it was a showdown between Rask and Varlamov.

Rask was remarkable, stifling every Islander on his doorstep and positioning himself perfectly on every Islander rush. He finished with 28 saves on 29 shots to improve to 6-2 this postseason.

Aside from giving up the goal to Smith, who was back in the Bruins’ lineup after missing Game 2 with a lower-body injury, Varlamov kept the Islanders within one until Barzal’s game-tying score. Toward the end of the second period, the Russian netminder made a crucial pad save on Bruins center David Krejci before denying Nick Ritchie in the crease on the way to a 39-save night.

“Right now, these are two teams that are, let’s just say what it is, we’re fairly evenly matched,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “We’re playing nose-to-nose, blue-collar hockey. It’s not gonna be easy. The hard way is going to be the only way in this series. There was no easy ice, especially in the first half of the game, you had to fight and claw for every inch of real estate out there, and it was back and forth.

“There’s no panic, I mean, we were in the same situation before and we look forward, we don’t look back.”

Particularly in the middle frame, the Islanders had an abundance of opportunities to even the score, but the Bruins continued to clog the lanes and body any blue-and-orange sweater off the puck.

There were times when the Isles were too cute with their passes. There were times when they made too many passes. There were also plenty of times when the Bruins were simply anticipating each pass.

“It’s tough for about 10 minutes,” Barzal said. “It’s the playoffs, so you kind of turn the page and we know there’s a lot of good things to build off of. So, we’re excited.”


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