The islanders arrived at the Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday with the opportunity to win the play-off series in their original home for the first time since 1993.
The scattered home crowd – with arena capacity increased to 9,000 for Game 6 from 6,800 earlier in the series – was an added bonus and the Icelanders did not disappoint.
The game of seesaws skewed the Islanders in the middle of the second period when Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock scored a gap of 13 seconds, giving the Islanders a one-goal lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nelson scored again three minutes later to cement a 5-3 win. The island’s fourth seeders upset the Penguins winners of the Eastern Division, closing the first round series with three consecutive wins. The Islanders will continue their playoff game against the Boston Bruins in their final season at the Colosseum.
Network rookie Ilya Sorokin – who has won all four games he started in his first playoff series – has made 34 saves to win. He has stopped 27 of the 28 shots he has faced in the last two periods, including the denial of Evgeny Malkin on the run. The stand spawned a cascading chant of “Ilya, Ilya” from the Colosseum crowd and included a series: Penguins of Frustration and the composed execution of the Islanders.
“The crowd was noisy – it was loud,” Nelson said. “They gave us an incentive. We wanted to win the one in front of them. ”
A double overtime of Josh Bailey’s Game 5 on Monday in Pittsburgh inspired fans as their chance to advance was at their fingertips. The team has not started a series on Long Island since a six-game win over the Washington Capitals in April 1993, although it won the series in 2016 by playing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Each team scored twice in the first half. Penguins center Jeff Carter scored his fourth goal of the series just a minute 27 seconds after the competition, before Anthony Beauvillier drove the crowd crazy at 5:16 when he broke through the puck next to Penguins goalkeeper Tristan Jarry.
Jake Guentzel gave the visitors a 11:12 lead with a goal from the game, while the Islanders defender Scott Mayfield was in the penalty area for cross-checking Malkin.
But Kyle Palmieri, one of the Devils Islanders ’acquisitions in the late season, declined a rebound next to Jarry at 12:25, equalizing the score and claiming his third goal of the series.
Travis Zajac, also acquired by the Devils, made his debut in the series, replacing Oliver Wahlstrom, who was injured in Game 5. Zajac and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who had two points, assisted on Pulock’s goal.
The Penguins started the third period in power play after a controversial call against Pulock late in the second. But Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s shot was closest to Pittsburgh.
The islanders entered the competition with history on their side.
They entered the Game 6s with a record of 11-1 when they led a series of three games to two. They had a 7-2 playoff game against Pittsburgh under coach Barry Trotz, including a 3-1 rating at the Nassau Coliseum.
Fans are enjoying their last chance to play in the playoffs at their intimate ice rink, which opened in 1972. The team will move into their top-notch home in Belmont Park next season, but that can wait as the franchise chases its first title after a series of four consecutive championships since 1980. until 1983.
“This is just one step,” Nelson said. “We here at Cola want to make our own history.”