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Islanders Casey Cizikas comes up clutch in overtime for Game 2 winner

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 31: Casey Cizikas #53 and the New York Islanders scores the game winning goal at 5:12 of the first overtime to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 31, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 31: Casey Cizikas #53 and the New York Islanders scores the game winning goal at 5:12 of the first overtime to defeat the Boston Bruins 4-3 in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 31, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Game 2 in the second round between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins was not for the faint of heart. Through 75 minutes of game time, there were dramatic swings in mood and momentum with some high-highs and low-lows.

Letting up a goal just 2:38 into the game was not great for the Isles. The Islanders two losses against the Pittsburgh saw the Pens open the scoring at 3:22 in Game 2 and then 2:01 in Game 3. Starting the game on the back foot so early was not a good development for the Islanders.

Highs and lows of New York Islanders Game 2 Win

But the veteran group stuck to their game and found their chances. Specifically in the second period where the Isles have been atrocious all year long. Josh Bailey, Kyle Palmieri, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau all found the back of the net in the second frame. Two of those goals came on the power play which has also been atrocious this season.

Bailey now has four goals in eight games during the playoffs. He had eight goals in 54 games during the regular season. Some sort of metamorphosis happens to Josh Bailey in the postseason that needs to be bottled and given to the rest of the team.

The Islanders had 20 minutes to manage the game and pick up a win in regulation. Not an easy task considering their opponents were the Boston Bruins. But the Isles were doing well. Up until 10:34 of the third they had held on. And then Patrice Bergeron found room in the slot to reduce the Isles lead to one.

Marchand scoring on the power play to equalize the game a few minutes later was gut-wrenching. Not only because that Bruins power play was from a totally avoidable too-many-men-on-the-ice call against the Isles, but because the Islanders had done so well to create that 3-1 lead that was just erased.

With the Bruins rallying in the third – as the Bruins typically do – overtime felt like it was going to be tough to watch. But the Isles surprisingly had the run of play by winning the shot-share battle. They were creating more and even sustained more offensive zone time (based on the eye test) than the Bruins in the extra frame.

I won’t say they deserved to win, but they had done enough to justify winning this one when Casey Cizikas scored on the breakaway 14:48 in OT.

Pandemonium, on the Island at least. It was Cizikas’ first goal in 27 games and first playoff goal since 2015. As Barry Trotz said in his post-game interview, this was a character win by the team and there’s no bigger character on the team than Casey Cizikas. Perfectly fitting ending.

Now the series shifts to Long Island where 12,000 fans wait to cram the Coliseum to cheer on their team.

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