Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders warms up before...

Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders warms up before Game One of the second-round playoff series against the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on May 29, 2021. Credit: Getty Images/Rich Gagnon

Casey Cizikas made no mistake on the clean breakaway he got in overtime of Game 2 of the Islanders’ second-round playoff series against the Bruins on Monday night in Boston, burying the puck behind Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for his first playoff goal since 2015 to give the Isles a 4-3 win and even the best-of-seven series, one game apiece.

Mathew Barzal, on the other hand . . .

Barzal also got a breakaway Monday night, with little less than six-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second period while the teams were playing four-on-four and the Isles were ahead, 2-1. Anthony Beauvillier picked up a puck behind his own net, tried to skate it out up the left side, wheeled back deeper into the zone, then spotted Barzal all alone at the Boston blue line. The Bruins had gone for a change on the play, and Beauvillier fired a stretch pass that hit Barzal, who skated in on Rask. At the end of a long shift, Barzal pulled the puck to his backhand, and lifted it harmlessly over the crossbar.

In the end, Barzal wasn’t even credited with a shot on goal on the play, but it was one of the more threatening moments he had in perhaps his best game of the playoffs so far. The Islanders’ No. 1 center had an assist, four shots on goal and was part of several goal-scoring chances in the game, along with linemates Jordan Eberle and Leo Komarov. The trio totaled nine shots on goal, and the pesty Komarov drew a penalty against Brandon Carlo that led to Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s power-play goal that gave the Isles a 3-1 lead.

"He was good. He was dangerous,’’ Isles coach Barry Trotz said of Barzal, who has no goals and four assists in eight playoff games.

"Yeah, that line was really good tonight,’’ Trotz said. "[Barzal] was — he was dancing. I mean he was going to the hard areas, he was fighting for his inches, and they had a hard time containing him. And that's what we need. I thought tonight was the first time in a while here that we've had all four lines go.’’

So far in the playoffs, it’s been the middle six forwards who have done most of the good stuff for the Islanders. The second line of Beauvillier, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey have totaled 11 goals and 12 assists. The third line — Pageau between Kyle Palmieri and either Oliver Wahlstrom or Travis Zajac — has combined for seven goals and 11 assists. Beavillier (four goals, five assists, nine points) and Pageau (2-7-9) are both in the top 10 in the league in playoff scoring.

Barzal, meanwhile, is tied for eighth on the Islanders in scoring (0-4-4), while Eberle (2-3-5) is tied for fifth. Komarov has two assists.

Trotz had spoken before the game about Barzal’s struggle to put up points. He defended the 24-year-old, talked about how he’s matured to the point where things that used to bother him — like opponents’ jabs after the whistle and such — don’t bother him anymore. And Trotz expressed confidence that eventually the goals will come for him.

"The next step is, ‘OK, it's not going my way right now, how do I find a way?’ ’’ Trotz said. "And I think it's just fighting for the inches; being really firm in your battles. Because to get off offense now you've got to win battles, and you've got to execute after you win them, because those windows close up on you real quick.

"Would I like him to produce a little bit more? Absolutely,’’ Trotz said. "But he will. He will, and he's a proud player, he's a good player, and I have a lot of trust in him that he's going to be able to do that."

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