New York Islanders forward Mat Barzal fought back tears in his Game 7 post-game press conference Friday evening. The Isles lost Game 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 1-0 score. New York was eliminated by Tampa for the second straight season.
Barzal’s passion was on full display in his post-game interview. The 24-year-old finished the postseason with six goals and 14 points in 19 games. Barzal played a monumental role in sending the series to seven games, assisting on two Islanders’ goals in Game 6 at Nassau Coliseum.
Barzal was on the verge of tears as he described now close the Islanders came. The superstar forward whiffed on an empty-net shot during Game 7. “It sucks knowing how close we were.”
Barzal said he knows he’s got years left in his career, but he’s thinking of the veteran players like Andy Greene and Josh Bailey. He wanted to win for them. “It hurts seeing those guys in the locker room afterwards. Knowing how close we were.”
An emotional Mat Barzal in his Game 7 post-game. Wanted to win for the Islanders veteran players pic.twitter.com/0MfAAu9RQD
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) June 26, 2021
The Islanders took the Lightning to seven games this time around after bowing out in six games in last year’s Eastern Conference Final. New York hasn’t reached the Stanley Cup Final since 1984.
It was hard to see Barzal so visibly upset after the heartbreaking loss. But the Isles’ superstar is one of the NHL’s best young forwards and will likely be back in this spot before you know it.