Bruins dangerous in Game 5, but Islanders take 3-2 series lead

The Bruins put forth one heck of an effort in Game 5, but the Islanders held on for a huge 5-4 win. With that, the Islanders lead the Bruins 3-2 in their Second Round series.

Overall, Boston generated a towering 44-20 shots on goal advantage. The Isles are perfectly comfortable playing under those circumstances, and in Monday’s case, they succeeded.

A strong start doesn’t make much of a difference for Boston

This doesn’t always happen during hockey playoffs, but sometimes it does. A team dominates a game early, often with a home crowd cheering them on. They create chance after chance, buzzing around. Yet, when the smoke clears on the first period, the game is tied, or that home team only has a one-goal lead.

That’s pretty much how Bruins – Islanders Game 5 began.

David Pastrnak scored from way downtown, and the Bruins created some chaos in front of Semyon Varlamov. In particular, Pastrnak’s line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron were swarming.

But they only built a 1-0 lead, and then Mathew Barzal burned them with a 1-1 power-play goal late in the opening frame. That counter-punching would only become that much more devastating as Game 5 went along.

Islanders’ power play, Varlamov frustrate Bruins in Game 5

Much like the first period, the Bruins dominated the even-strength/general play over the Islanders in the middle frame of Game 5. At least from a pure volume standpoint. (The high-danger battle was generally close.)

It’s remarkable that David Pastrnak made it 1-0 and Brad Marchand tied things 2-2, yet they created plenty of other near-goals through the first two periods. But this Marchand goal was just an absolute beauty.

But it only mattered so much at that point in the contest.

In front of an increasingly angry crowd in Boston, the Islanders drew penalties against the Bruins, and turned Game 5 on its head with three PPG through the first 40 minutes.

As with many officiating controversies, there was a mix of legitimate grievances and genuine gaffes. This segment with Patrick Sharp, Anson Carter, and Kathryn Tappen captured that time-turning span.

[MORE: Bruce Cassidy vents about penalties in Game 5]

A surprising push falls short

While Semyon Varlamov made a host of tough saves, Tuukka Rask endured a tough Game 5. By the start of the third period, Jeremy Swayman replaced Rask in the Bruins’ net.

Swayman made a tough save on Jordan Eberle after Eberle exited the penalty box. But a Brock Nelson goal made it 5-2, setting Boston up for a challenging push to get back into this one.

Maybe fittingly, it was the Bruins’ power play that gave them some hope. On a blistering one-timer, David Pastrnak scored his second goal of Game 5 to reduce the Islanders’ lead to 5-3.

Every second counted from there, which made a rare Patrice Bergeron delay of game penalty that much more painful.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Credit the Bruins for not giving up despite so many things going the Islanders’ way in Game 5. An unthinkable comeback started to look more and more plausible when David Krejci scored to make it 5-4 with a bit more than five minutes remaining in the third.

Maybe that earlier push left the Bruins’ most dangerous scorers out of gas, as the Islanders ultimately held them off to win Game 5 by that 5-4 score. Losing is always painful, but this had to be an especially agonizing way for the B’s to fall.

The Isles get a chance to eliminate the B’s in Game 6 on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

BRUINS VS. ISLANDERS (NYI leads series 3-2) – series livestream link

Game 1: Bruins 5, Islanders 2
Game 2: Islanders 4, Bruins 3 (OT)
Game 3: Bruins 2, Islanders 1 (OT)
Game 4: Islanders 4, Bruins 1
Game 5: Islanders 5, Bruins 4
Game 6: Wed. June 9: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
*Game 7: Fri. June 11: Islanders at Bruins TBD

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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