By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Home: Boston Bruins (13-7-4)
Away: New York Islanders (12-9-2)
For the first time in the 2018-19 regular season, the Boston Bruins will play a team from New York state, this time, being against the New York Islanders from Uniondale, New York.
Heading into Thursday’s contest, the Bruins are feeling the impact of a Toronto Maple Leafs loss that not only hands them their seventh regulation loss of the season, but it adds yet another injury to the team. Defenceman Kevan Miller will be re-evaluated by the team in five weeks after a John Tavares shot damaged cartilage inside of his larynx.
The Islanders are also coming off of a recent defeat – losing 4-1 to the Washington Capitals on Monday. The Isles are fifth in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division, only five points behind the division-leading Washington Capitals. The team only really has one major injury to their roster at this point – F Andrew Ladd who was placed on injured reserve on November 13th due to a right leg injury. Ladd had 3-4-7 totals in fourteen games prior to his injury.
Prior to puck drop, the Boston Bruins retired Rick Middleton’s number sixteen to the rafters in TD Garden following a great ceremony. Bruins legends such as Cam Neely, Ray Bourque, Terry O’Reilly, Johnny Bucyk, and Don Cherry were all in attendance to honour the legendary career of Middleton.
Bruins Morning Rushes:
Ryan Donato is back in the lineup after a brief time with the Providence Bruins, Anders Bjork was sent down to Providence earlier in the day, forcing him out of the lineup for the unforeseeable future, as well as the loss of Kevan Miller.
Following the amazing ceremony of Rick Middleton, the puck officially dropped on this Thursday night contest.
The Islanders and Bruins opened up the game with some decent back-and-forth play. Both teams had several attacks in the first seven minutes or so, but only three shots combined made it to one of Tuukka Rask or Robin Lehner.
With 12:18 to go in the period, Connor Clifton took a point shot that hit Anthony Beauvillier hard, dropping him to the ice almost immediately. Beauvillier was forced to hobble down the tunnel to the locker room. Clifton continues to impress during his time with Boston in the big leagues here.
Just past the halfway point of the opening frame in Boston, the Bruins look like the better team so far – outshooting the Islanders six-to-one, getting some solid opportunities towards Lehner in the net, but the game remains scoreless.
However, it would be the Islanders that put the first tally on the scoreboard with 7:43 to go in the first. Anders Lee managed to poke at a puck right in front of Tuukka Rask, going five-hole for his eighth of the season, making it 1-0 New York. Torey Krug failed to get the puck away from the net just before Lee buried the puck.
As mentioned by Jack Edwards on the NESN broadcast, the Bruins have struggled to come back and win a game so far this season when trailing after one period of play. Either the B’s will need to tie the game or that streak will have to be broken if tonight’s game is to go in the win column.
Lee’s goal gave the Isles some serious momentum. They managed to control the puck in the offensive zone, leaving the Bruins scrambling for a whistle to head off for a change. Thankfully, the Bruins forced a whistle with 4:29 left to trail, getting a much-needed breather.
A bouncing puck from the point led to Pastrnak getting a close opportunity right in front of Lehner, but Lehner was able to take away the angle and make a pad save. Arguably the best scoring chance for Boston so far tonight. 2:27 remains.
Even with some good chances, the Bruins still could not buy themselves a goal and the period ends with a 1-0 in favour of New York. Boston seemed to have slacked off from the middle of the period onwards. Flat-footed and out of sorts offensively once the Lee goal went in. Intermission will be vital to change the atmosphere right now.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 13 NYI: 7
Score: 1-0 Islanders
Islanders and Bruins begin the second-period similar to the first – back-and-forth hockey. Anthony Beauvillier on the New York Islanders is back on the ice after blocking a Connor Clifton slapshot to his lower-body. He looked to be in some serious discomfort when he struggled to get to the locker room, good to see he is not badly injured from the play.
As the game nears the halfway mark, Noel Acciari is called on a tripping minor and is sent to the box for two minutes. Bruins enter the game allowing a power-play goal in three consecutive games, with a total penalty-kill success rate of 77.3% – 21st in the NHL. Islanders come into the contest with the eighth-worst power-play in the league at just above 16%. With that, the Bruins make the kill and the game returns to five-on-five.
With 8:17 remaining on the clock, the Bruins head to the power-play due to a Nick Leddy high-sticking minor. Boston’s man-advantage comes into the contest with the third-highest success rate at just under 29%. On the 5-on-4 PP, David Pastrnak finds Brad Marchand who one-times a shot past Lehner – ending his seven-game scoreless drought. Torey Krug picks up his eleventh assist on the play as well. 1-1 game.
Later in the frame, with about three minutes to go, Torey Krug makes a fancy spin move work to lose the man, following it up with a shot for a rebound by the Bruins fourth-line. Puck did not end up crossing the red line at any time, but solid play by Krug nonetheless. Bruins have had a lot more life in this middle frame then they did in the first.
The final ninety seconds of the second-period had some tensions flying. Both teams have had some good chances in the frame and the post-whistle scrums seemed to happen after every whistle. Right at the end, just before the buzzer sounded, David Krejci took a hard hit by Thomas Hickey at centre-ice, seemingly feeling the impacts from it. Krejci immediately went down the tunnel, even though the period was done. Hoping it is not another injury for the Bruins.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 25 NYI: 16
To start the final regulation period of the hockey game, David Krejci was not seen on the Bruins bench according to many different sources, however, once play began, Krejci snuck back onto the bench – a sign of relief for Bruins fans.
Once again, these evenly-matched teams started the frame with a continuous pace. Whistles were few and far between, in fact, they went nearly seven minutes without a single play being called dead. Both teams always seemed to keep the play going. Chris Wagner rang a shot off of the post, not the first time either that a Bruins hit the iron without it going into the net.
Tuukka Rask made a solid reactionary save at one point in the seven-minute span of back-and-forth hockey, as well as a close Steven Kampfer opportunity that caused the eventual whistle. Jake DeBrusk was also shaken up on a separate play after he went flying into the boards following a scoring opportunity.
The third period continued to fly by extremely quickly with chances continuing to pile up. The referees seem to be afraid to call any penalties because, on multiple occasions, a call maybe should have been made including numerous interference minors that went uncalled. Poor refereeing in the NHL continues.
Final three minutes of the period and the Bruins are looking solid. Islanders seem to struggle to send the rubber puck out of their own zone, heavily relying on Lehner to make some key saves. Jake DeBrusk had the best chance in the zone pressure, receiving a pass from Colby Cave, but DeBrusk could not get the puck above Lehner’s pad.
Neither team manages to break the one-one tie and we are headed to sudden death overtime.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 34 NYI: 23
The trio of David Krejci, John Moore, and Jake DeBrusk started off the 3-on-3 overtime session for Boston.
The Islanders had two or three good opportunities within the first minute, leading to a “goal”. Anthony Beauvillier went crashing into Rask, laying down in the crease, allowing Mathew Barzal to score. The original call on the ice was a clear no goal and after further review, the call stands – no goal.
Once the Bruins finally got some chances in the offensive zone, the Islanders strike right back with three very good opportunities that are all denied by Tuukka Rask who stops all three very well. The crowd in Boston goes crazy for every one of them.
Unfortunately, no goals are scored and we head to a Boston Bruins shootout for the first time in the 2018-19 season.
Shots On Goal: BOS: 35 NYI: 29
1st Shot: NYI Mathew Barzal – NO GOAL
2nd Shot: BOS Jake DeBrusk – NO GOAL
3rd Shot: NYI Brock Nelson – NO GOAL
4th Shot: BOS David Pastrnak – NO GOAL
5th Shot: NYI Valtteri Filppula – NO GOAL
6th Shot: BOS Brad Marchand – NO GOAL
7th Shot: NYI Josh Bailey – NO GOAL
8th Shot: BOS Ryan Donato – GOAL (Game-Winner)
In his return game, Ryan Donato wins the game in a shootout and the Bruins come away with a 2-1 win on home-ice. Big goal, even though it is in a shootout, for Ryan Donato who spent recent time in Providence. Donato now 2-for-2 in career shootout goals.
Final Score: 2-1 Bruins
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: BOS G Tuukka Rask – 29 Saves, 4 Shootout Saves, .966 SV%
2nd Star: NYI G Robin Lehner – 36 Saves, .972 SV%
3rd Star: BOS F Ryan Donato – Shootout-winning Goal, 3 Shots, 10:41 TOI
The Boston Bruins improve to 14-7-4 on the season and now look towards their next game against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, December 1st in Boston, Massachusetts. Scheduled time for puck drop is 7pm EST.