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Brock Nelson puts family first. Goal scoring is a close second for the veteran Islander.
Wednesday night’s 6-2 win over the Boston Bruins was Nelson’s second biggest victory of the series — the 29-year-old and his wife, Karly, welcomed a baby into the world the afternoon of Game 4.
He was in the lineup hours later on no sleep.
“He’s been dealing with that,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz revealed after Game 6. “We got him to Boston late that night. Today, you saw him fresh and happy to have a new child.
“He settled in and played a Brock Nelson game.”
The birth of a child is a fair excuse for time off, but not for Nelson. His teammates have matched his dedication and the Islanders won three straight since the baby was born.
Nelson was “rested” Wednesday night, according to Trotz, and it showed. He scored two goals, including the series-clinching tally, to help the Isles advance. He will now get more rest with his family as the Islanders prepare for a conference semifinal matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second straight season.
And the new father deserves it. In Game 6 against the Penguins and Game 6 against the Bruins, he was a difference-maker, scoring two goals each contest and ensuring there would be more history at Nassau Coliseum.
“We have a good group of guys that’ve been here a long time. They’ve grown up here, grown up together,” Nelson said. “It’s a special group, a special place with a lot of history dating back to the ’80s. Not just the players, but the community.”
The Islanders won only one playoff series in Nelson’s first five years with the team. They have won six — including the qualifying round last year — in the first three seasons under Trotz and GM Lou Lamoriello.
Nelson is a big reason why. Only Mike Bossy and Clark Gillies have more series-clinching goals in franchise history and just Brayden Point and Nathan MacKinnon have more playoff goals since 2020.
The center tasked with elevating his game when former captain John Tavares departed for Toronto has done that and more, stepping up when it matters most. And at Nassau Coliseum in front of raucous home crowds, he has shined brightest.
“It was one of those nights. You’ll always remember moments like that,” Nelson said. “Big game, big team effort. It just feels good having a full Coliseum behind you and playing for them.”
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