Apparently, Mat Barzal is no saint.
The New York Islanders star forward received a five-minute major penalty and ejection Monday night for cross-checking Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta in the Bolts’ 8-0 blowout win. The victory puts Tampa within one game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, as the frustration mounts for Barzal and the Isles.
The infraction came at the end of the second period, with the Lightning already leading 6-0.
Unsurprisingly, that wasn’t the only rough stuff. Tempers flared late in the game, as both teams tried to set the tone for the rest of the series. All told, 46 penalty minutes were assessed for this little scuffle with 3:30 left in the contest.
The Islanders have to hope that sends some sort of message for Game 6 back on Long Island. Tampa Bay thoroughly dismantled them as evidenced not only by the final score, but the Bolts also doubled up New York on shot attempts 42-21. Goalie Semyon Varlamov was pulled after allowing three goals on 16 shots, and Ilya Sorokin proceeded to allow five more on 26 shots.
The Isles face a must-win in what could be the final game at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday night. It’s likely Barzal’s wallet is a little lighter by that time, too.