Islanders topple Bruins in OT thriller to even series

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The Islanders had this one won, then they lost their grasp on it during the frenetic third period and then they won it again.

In overtime.

It was 4-3 Islanders to even this best-of-seven at a game apiece on a Casey Cizikas goal with just over five minutes left in OT on Monday night in Boston to cap an intense, nasty game of playoff theatre in which both teams’ big guys took turns being heroes.

For 50 minutes, the Islanders had been brilliant in building a 3-1 lead while displaying their forecheck and neutral zone containment game. They had handled the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak line beautifully, forcing them to defend for shifts at a time.

Mat Barzal was on his toes. Semyon Varlamov was outstanding in his first start since Game 2 of the Pittsburgh series. The club got power play goals from Josh Bailey and Jean-Gabriel Pageau while Kyle Palmieri scored at even-strength.

The game was theirs for the taking.

Until the Bruins wrested it back, getting a goal from Marchand on a left-wing drive at 10:34 before Bergeron tied it with a rocket of his own from the top at 15:06 on a power play created when the Islanders were called for too many men.

Too many men!

So into OT, where the Islanders won it again and will have the chance to get the jump in the series at the Coliseum on Thursday for Game 3.

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