It was only two years ago, but it feels a lot longer doesn't it?
On May 26th, 2021, the Islanders closed out their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-3 win at a partially full but raucous Nassau Coliseum. Like the series that would follow against the Boston Bruins, the Islanders earned a split on the road with an O.T. winner (Kyle Palmieri in GM1) only to drop Game 3 at home and give home-ice advantage back to their opponent.
Trailing 2-1 in the series, the Islanders took care of business with a 4-1 win on home ice to even the series and then stole GM5 in Pittsburgh behind 48 saves from a brilliant Ilya Sorokin and won the game in 51 seconds into double OT when Josh Bailey took advantage of Tristan Jarry's misplay to send the Islanders back to the Coliseum with a chance to win the series and advance.
Fans may forget just how tense things were for most of the first half of this game, considering that the Islanders maintained a two-goal lead throughout the third period. Pittsburgh led the game on three separate occasions before the Islanders scored three unanswered goals in a three-minute span of the second period to pull away.
The Isles trailed 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 before taking control of the game.
Anthony Beuavillier set up Brock Nelson for the game-tying goal at the 8:35 mark of the second period, and then just 13 seconds later, JG Pageau won a face-off back to Travis Zajak, who moved the puck to Ryan Pulock, who blasted a shot past Jarry for a 4-3 lead. Nelson would score his second of the game, beating Jarry five-hole 2 minutes and 46 seconds later.
“I thought we showed a lot of resiliency,” coach Barry Trotz said after the game. “I liked our resiliency, I liked our physicality, I liked our detail. ... Lots of good things. I liked the surge that we had with three goals in about three minutes there (in the second period). And then we battled.”