Brock Nelson scores twice, Travis Zajac once as former UND players send Islanders to conference finals

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Jun. 10—Brock Nelson hasn't been sleeping much.

"People don't know," New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz said, "Brock just had a child the other day, him and his wife, and so he's been dealing with that. He played Game 4 (Saturday). . his wife had a baby in the afternoon. . . he played that night with no sleep. He came to Boston (for Game 5), we got him into Boston late that night, played that game.

"I think today you saw him fresh and happy to have a new child with his wife, his wife home, and all that. I think he settled in and played a Brock Nelson game."

The former Warroad High and UND star scored two goals, including the game-winner, as the Islanders beat the Boston Bruins 6-2 in a series-clinching Game 6 of their Stanley Cup Playoff series on Wednesday night.

Former UND standout Travis Zajac also scored for the Islanders, who will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference finals for a second-straight year.

"Whenever you have an opportunity to close out a team, you want to bring your best," Nelson said. "You need to bring your 'A' game."

Nelson has been doing that during the playoffs.

He now has six goals this playoff season, two off the NHL's lead.

During the last two Stanley Cup Playoffs, only Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (22) and Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon (17) have more goals than Nelson's 15.

"He's an elite talent, there's no question about that," Islanders forward Josh Bailey said about Nelson. "Big-game player. I think he probably doesn't get enough recognition for what he does defensively out there. He's a complete, 200-foot player, been a real leader for us."

Former UND players scored the first three goals for the Islanders.

Zajac, who was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Islanders at the deadline, buried the first one at 8:52 of the opening period from the top of the crease. It was his first playoff goal with the Islanders.

After Boston's Brad Marchand tied the game at 1, Nelson put New York back in front with back-to-back goals in the second period.

The first one was a pretty goal as Nelson poked the puck past Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk at the blue line, skated in alone and scored on goalie Tuukka Rask to make it 2-1 at 5:20.

Just 7:19 later, Nelson added to the Islanders' lead, receiving a pass in the slot, moving the puck to his backhand and slipping it five-hole on Rask.

"The place was rocking tonight," Nelson said of the Nassau Coliseum, which is in its final year. "The fans were feeding us energy. The team played great. It was one of those nights. Barry touched on it a bit after the game. You always remember moments like that. It was a big game, a big team effort from everybody. It feels good having a full Coliseum behind you there and playing for them."

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