Brad Marchand's OT Winner Lifts Bruins to 2-1 Series Lead over Islanders

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2021

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JUNE 03:  Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins chases down the puck against the New York Islanders during the second period in Game Three of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nassau Coliseum on June 03, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

After dropping Game 2 in overtime on Monday, the Boston Bruins got one back, defeating the New York Islanders 2-1 in overtime in Game 3 on Thursday to take a 2-1 series lead.

Brad Marchand had the winner 3:36 into the extra period for the Bruins, who won Game 1 on Saturday. 

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BRAD MARCHAND. GAME WINNER. #NHLBruins | #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/xlExtPokY9

For the Islanders, who earned the 4-3 overtime win on Memorial Day, Mathew Barzal scored the equalizer with five minutes left to play to keep the Islanders in it. 

Notable Performers

  • Brad Marchand, Bruins: game-winning goal
  • Craig Smith, Bruins: 1 goal
  • Mathew Barzal, Islanders: 1 goal
  • Tuukka Rask, Bruins: 28 saves
  • Semyon Varlamov, Islanders: 39 saves

Craig Smith's Strong Return 

On Tuesday, the Bruins played without Craig Smith, who is a crucial piece of the team's scoring depth on their second line alongside Taylor Hall, due to a lower-body injury. 

Jake DeBrusk moved up to fill his spot in Game 2, but the return of the veteran who posted 13 goals and 19 assists in the regular season—and the double-overtime winner against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the first-round series—was promising for Boston, and he made his return known right away.

Smith opened the scoring from the slot with 5:52 gone in the first. 

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Update: he is warm. https://t.co/ok5XpLbyEH

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Welcome back, Craig Smith!#NHLBruins strike first in Game 3. pic.twitter.com/XbYOQmm5c4

Though they were leading heading into the second intermission, the Bruins were outplayed by the home team in the second period. Boston was outshot by two in the first period, but the gap became even more apparent early in the middle frame, though the Bruins came along to outshoot the Islanders 5-0 in the final two minutes of the period. 

With the Bruins pushing to increase the distance—and the Islanders fighting to get one—the Boston defense took a serious blow when Brandon Carlo went down on a hard hit against the boards from Cal Clutterbuck. 

But the fast-flying offense—and a collapse from the Islanders—kept Boston in it until Mathew Barzal's equalizer at 14:34, which forced the extra period. 

Isles' Offense Falters Halfway Through 

The Islanders' power play changed the game on Monday, when a five-on-four goal from Josh Bailey tied the game at 1-1, then another power play point from Jean-Gabriel Pageau made it a 3-1 lead at the end of the second period.

But they couldn't capitalize on power plays at the start on Thursday, missing out on an opportunity to tie a shorthanded Boston squad that was up 1-0 after one. 

While they fell short on the power play, the Islanders forced Tuukka Rask to earn his keep. After outshooting Boston 7-5 in the first period, the Islanders went into the second intermission with nothing to show for the early domination.

Midway through the second period, the Islanders began to fall apart, and the third frame was all Boston, with the Islanders outshot 8-0 before they finally found Rask's pads at 5:10 of the third frame. 

Varlamov was the hero in the Islanders net, making save after save to keep any further damage at bay, but with the offense dropping off halfway through, there was little he could do to solve the problem.  

Luckily for New York, Barzal found the back of the net for his first goal of the postseason to tie things up with five minutes to play.

x - New York Islanders @NYIslanders

TIED. GAME. pic.twitter.com/JacfJGkgGc

All of a sudden, the Isles were alive again, headed to OT for the second game in a row. 

What's Next? 

Game 4 is Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET.