Less than halfway through a scoreless game four on Saturday night at Nassau Coliseum, Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield was defending Bruins forward Taylor Hall and the sequence led to the gloves being dropped and then a fight that would just be the tip of the iceberg when it came to how physical it was during the Islanders’ 4-1 win in front of a full house of 12,000. The Islanders have relied on physical play in a series that is now tied at two games apiece.
Fighting is not something new to Mayfield, but it’s not something that a skilled player like Hall is used to. But, given that it’s the postseason, emotions can run high.
“We’re playing a lot against each other,” said Mayfield. “He likes to get to the net and he’s got speed so I need to make sure I’m physical on him. Playoffs can get emotional and I think that’s what it was. Good for him. He’s not known for doing that…that’s for sure. It’s part of the game. It was a good little fight there and we move on.”
The Islanders and Bruins now move on to game five in Boston on Monday night and a series that started as a best-of-seven is now a best-of-three with the Bruins taking back home-ice advantage thanks to their 2-1 overtime victory in game three. It’s a series that’s been hard-fought and right where most people thought it would be at this point…all even.
Islanders vs Bruins (Series tied 2-2)
Game 1…Saturday May 29th…Bruins 5 Islanders 2…
Game 2…Monday May 31st…Islanders 4 Bruins 3 (OT)…
Game 3…Thursday June 3rd…Bruins 2 Islanders 1 (OT)…
Game 4…Saturday June 5th…Islanders 4 Bruins 2…
Game 5…Monday June 7th…Islanders at Bruins…630pm NBCSN
Game 6…Wednesday June 9th…Bruins at Islanders…TBD
*Game 7…Friday June 11th…Islanders at Bruins…TBD
After eight regular season meetings and now four highly emotional playoff games, these two teams have developed a dislike for each other.
“Some animosity is going to develop,” said Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri who scored the game-tying goal in the second period Saturday night, his fifth goal of the playoffs.
“We’re two teams that want to win. We just want to go out there and compete and sometimes tempers flare like that. We’re just going to continue to play our game.”
And physicality is a big part of the Islanders game. They do need the likes of Palmieri, Mat Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey and Jordan Eberle to score, but they also know that they have to bring it in terms of physical play and this series has been a perfect example of that, especially in game five. Not only did Mayfield tussle with Hall, but later in the first period Matt Martin took on Jarred Tinordi and the tone was set for the type of evening of playoff hockey that the Islanders are more than happy to participate in.
“It’s the way we’re built,” said Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz. “That’s the way our roster has been created so we know who we are. We don’t try to be someone else or someone that you want us to be. We know who we are as a group and how we can be successful. It’s roster construction and we have some good pieces.”
And those pieces will continue to be a big key for the Islanders if they are to get past the Bruins and advance to round three of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.