(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, Associated Press)
By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Home: New York Islanders
Away: Boston Bruins
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
DeBrusk – Krejci – Coyle
Heinen – Kuraly – Wagner
Nordstrom – Acciari – Backes
Chara – McAvoy
Clifton – Carlo
Moore – Kampfer
New York’s Lineup
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beauvillier – Nelson – Ladd
Bailey – Filppula – Komarov
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Leddy – Mayfield
Pelech – Pulock
Hickey – Toews
Bruins fans rejoiced as David Pastrnak made his long-awaited return in this one. It didn’t take long for the scoring to begin, as it wasn’t Pastrnak, but rather Sean Kuraly who put the Bruins ahead just a minute and 12 seconds into the game. Kuraly’s first in 23 games and seventh of the season was assisted by Charlie McAvoy (19).
The Bruins dominated early on when it came to creating offense through the neutral zone and good shot attempts. Despite the Bruins holding significant control of the game for much of the period, they were ahead by just a goal after one. Sean Kuraly especially, even outside of his goal was buzzing in a strong first period as a unit. Shots were heavily in the Bruins favor at 14-2, in part thanks to six Islanders giveaways.
Score: 1-0 Boston
The action picked up early again in the second period when Zdeno Chara and Matt Martin squared off with one another. Chara’s first fight as a 42-year-old. With a hefty advantage when it comes to his wingspan and physical frame, Chara got the better of Martin in the fight for the most part, but Martin definitely got some good shots in. Per TSN StatsCentre, Chara is the first player of 42 or more years of age to earn a fighting major since Mark Recchi in 2010, ironically enough, while Recchi was on the Bruins.
The bottom-six continued to show up on the scoresheet. This time it was Noel Acciari getting on the board. He kept his head up, pounced on a turnover by Cal Clutterbuck, and quickly buried it to give the Bruins the two-goal lead.
The Islanders couldn’t really get anything established consistently for the majority of the first half of the game. It was all Bruins. An opportunity did come in the form of a power play for them when Pastrnak went off for 12:33 for high sticking, but they failed to convert on it.
Tuukka Rask made his first big save due to a lack of shots about 11 and a half minutes into the period. Kuraly potted another one late in the period for his second. Last time he buried two goals in a game was against Ottawa in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. His eighth goal of the season was assisted by Danton Heinen (21).
Soon after the goal, a power play ensued for the Bruins. No dice before the end of the period though. For what it’s worth, Pastrnak played 10:26 through the first two periods. 24-8 were the shots at the end of two in favor of the Bruins overall, 10-6 in the second period.
Score: 3-0 Boston
Things took a little longer to get going in the third compared to the first two periods. Patrice Bergeron got things going this time. I can’t remember the last time the first three goals of a Bruins game were scored by bottom-six forwards. John Moore (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (4) had the assists.
Jake DeBrusk then took a penalty not too long after for hooking. The Islanders didn’t score on the power play, and then DeBrusk scored his 23rd goal of the season on a breakaway out of the box.
The final shots were 39-13 Bruins, and 15-5 in the third period. This was a blowout through and through and a statement road win to start the four-game road trip. Next up for the Bruins are the Devils at 7 PM on the road on Thursday.