By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj
The Boston Bruins, riding a five-game winning streak, continues their road trip tonight with the second meeting of the 2021 season against the New York Islanders. Boston, who defeated the Rangers 1-0 last night, is looking to extend their lead in the MassMutual East Division to four points with a win over the Isles tonight.
In three games this month so far, the New York Islanders have a 2-0-1 record – picking up wins over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers before falling 4-3 in a shootout to the Penguins on February 11th. The Isles have the fourth position in the East Division, tied in points with the Penguins – but have more regulation-plus-overtime wins for the tiebreaker.
Arena: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum – Uniondale, New York, USA
Home: New York Islanders (5-4-3)
Away: Boston Bruins (10-1-2)
Bruins’ Last Game: 1-0 win vs NYR
Bruins’ Gameday Lineup:
Defenceman John Moore makes his season debut, Connor Clifton gets the healthy scratch. Tuukka Rask to start in goal. Everything else remains the same as Friday vs NYR.
Less than two minutes in, the Bruins aren’t wasting time taking it to the Islanders. Nick Ritchie drives hard as the lone man on the forecheck, managing to get the puck free from the Islander defender, feeding it to Anders Bjork higher in the zone. Bjork fires a shot and nearly buries a rebound attempt but Varlomov freezes it.
After five or so consecutive icings from New York, the Bruins’ fourth line with Zboril and Miller on the point had a solid period of time with possession in the Isles zone, getting pucks toward the net and aggressive on keeping the puck in. Boston’s depth is getting chances and playing hard in the boards early on, Islanders are scrambling.
Minutes later, the Bruins completely dominating the Islanders in the offensive zone. They managed to not only keep the puck circulating, but even had a full line change while in the zone for an entire four minutes. Patrice Bergeron gets the puck and threw it on the backhand to Brad Marchand who rips one past Varlomov, 1-0 Bruins.
Islanders answer back after the Marchand goal, starting to get more rushes into the Bruins’ zone and getting chances on Tuukka Rask. Roughly 12 minutes into the frame, Islanders forward Leo Komarov bats home a puck past Rask to tie the game at one.
Islanders keep pressing and with just around four minutes left in the first, Jordan Eberle fires a low slapshot towards goal on the rush into the zone and it somehow finds a hole between Tuukka Rask and the Islanders storm back to take a one-goal lead. Rask would 100% want to have that one back, tough one to let in.
The first period comes to a close and Boston trails 2-1. Bruins started off on fire, but the Islanders controlled the final half of the frame. Boston needs to be better at reducing turnovers and get bodies out of the front of the net. Not a horrendous opening 20, but things need to improve during the intermission.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 7 NYI: 15
Score: 2-1 Islanders – Goals: Marchand (9) Assists: Bergeron (11), Pastrnak (4); Pageau (3) Assists: Pulock (5), Komarov (1); Eberle (6) Assists: Nelson (3), Mayfield (1)
During the first intermission, the Bruins announce that defenceman Jakub Zboril will not return to the game with an upper-body injury. He seemed a step off all period, assume to find out more during post-game.
Boston looks better early in the second period. A bit tougher on the forecheck and better on the defensive side as well. The Ritchie-Krejci-Bjork line gets a decent chance off a strong carry into the zone from Ritchie that nearly leads to a back-door tip from Krejci. Islanders aren’t backing off, however, as they get a couple of bids on Rask afterward. This one is going to be a dog fight to the end for both teams.
Eight minutes in, the top line of Boston gets some more zone time, eventually leading to Adam Pelech taking a cross-checking penalty on David Pastrnak right in front of the official. Bruins to the power-play for the first time tonight. A couple decent opportunities fall short, back to even-strength as this one goes past the midway mark.
As the second period nears it’s end, the Islanders are spending a lot of time in the Bruins’ zone. The Bruins are struggling right now getting the puck out of the zone on solid breakout attempts that aren’t just dump-ins. Tuukka Rask is looking composed in net, but the lack of offence is the issue for Boston right now.
Arguably the best forward tonight for the Bruins, Nick Ritchie, brings down a puck off a lob from Jake DeBrusk, finding himself alone on a breakaway. Ritchie’s shot nearly beats Varlomov, but hits the crossbar and stays out.
A few shifts later, David Pastrnak blindly sends a puck from the defensive zone, landing in front of Brad Marchand who skates it into the Islanders’ zone. Marchand then feeds it to Patrice Bergeron, wasting no time for an accurate wrister, tying the game at two. Brandon Carlo with a crucial net-front drive to distract the goaltender, great play from the young defenceman.
Second period ends not long after that. Much better period for the Bruins, but again, spending too much time in their own end. Tuukka Rask was a bit frantic in his crease for a good part of the final few minutes, but did what he was supposed to do to keep the score the same.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 16 NYI: 30
Score: 2-2 – Goals: Bergeron (7) Assists: Marchand (9), Pastrnak (5)
Boston is the team with the better chances early in the third period. Charlie McAvoy did a nice job keeping the puck in the offensive zone, driving in on the backhand and dishing it across to David Krejci trailing on the backdoor. Anders Lee makes a great defensive play on the stick and Krejci’s shot goes wide.
Less than five minutes in, the Bruins head to the penalty-kill for the first time tonight. As the Isles went to the races on a partial breakway, David Pastrnak hooks Mathew Barzal and he’ll sit in the box for two minutes. Boston couldn’t clear the puck, eventually leading to Barzal buring a one-timer to the right of Rask, 3-2 Islanders.
7:29 remaining on the scoreboard and the Bruins are adamant on tying this game again. Very aggressive and putting shots towards Varlomov from every angle imaginable – none have beat the Isles netminder yet.
Now with 6:23 to go, Jordan Eberle gets his stick a bit too high on Jeremy Lauzon in clear view of the official and Boston heads to another man-advantage. Terrible control on the blueline allows Komarov to take the puck down the ice, feeding it through the Bruins trailing back to Jean-Gabriel Pageau who buries the shorthanded goal. 4-2 Islanders.
Bruins tried to net the tying goal late in the game with Rask pulled, but the efforts ran dry and the Islanders win 4-2. Bruins looked fatigued tonight with their third game in four nights.
Shots on Goal: BOS: 30 NYI: 42
Final Score: 4-2 Islanders
Max’s Three Stars:
1st Star: NYI G Semyon Varlomov – 28 Saves on 30 Shots
2nd Star: NYI G Jean-Gabriel Pageau – 2 Goals, 7 Shots, 5 Hits, 17:14 TOI
3rd Star: BOS F Patrice Bergeron – 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 2 Shots, 79% Faceoffs
Bruins’ five-game win streak and ten-game point streak come to an end with their second regulation loss of the season – both at the hands of the New York Islanders. Boston’s next game is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th at home against the New Jersey Devils.