By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty
Marchand – Bergeron – Pastrnak
Ritchie – Coyle – Smith
Bjork – Studnicka – DeBrusk
Frederic – Kuraly – Wagner
Vaakanainen – McAvoy
Zboril – Carlo
Moore – Clifton
New York’s Lineup
Lee – Barzal – Eberle
Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey
Komarov – Pageau – Wahlstrom
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Pelech – Pulock
Leddy – Mayfield
Greene – Dobson
Nick Ritchie got things off to a fast start just a minute and two seconds into the game. He linked up with Jakub Zboril through the slot and made no mistake burying the game’s first goal. His seventh goal of the season was assisted by Zboril (3) and Charlie Coyle (3).
Adam Pelech played spoiler not too long after the Ritchie goal, pinching into the offensive zone to beat Jaroslav Halak and tie the game with 16:44 remaining. Not too long after Pelech’s goal, Jack Studnicka almost scored one of his own on the backhand in close proximity to Semyon Varlamov, but hit the crossbar. The pace in this game early on was pretty wild.
Mathew Barzal was the next name on the scoresheet, using that speed and release we’ve all come to know to his advantage past Halak and in. It was 2-1 Islanders with 7:21 remaining.
They were 7-1-0 when scoring first coming into this game, so the pedigree was there to at least make things interesting, even down a goal. Shots on goal when all was said and done through 20 minutes were 15 to ten in favor of the Bruins.
Score: 2-1 New York
Anthony Beauvillier took the first penalty of the game for the Islanders thanks to a tripping infraction against David Pastrnak just a minute and one second into the period. The Bruins couldn’t convert. Craig Smith took the first Bruins for hooking against Nick Leddy with 10:49 remaining. Like the Bruins, the Islanders also couldn’t convert.
Smith atoned for his penalty with his first goal since February 1 against the Washington Capitals and his fourth of the season. The goal was assisted by Jake DeBrusk (3) and Urho Vaakanainen (2). and scored with 8:24 to go in the period. What a sequence it was.
Vaakanainen has two assists in as many games. That’s a pretty good look for the newest top-pairing Bruins defenseman. Shots on goal in the second period were 13 to nine in favor of the Bruins, bringing the total to 28 to 19, also in their favor.
Trent Frederic had a moment he’d like to forget, as he was stripped of the puck right in front of Halak allowing Beauvillier to capitalize and put the Islanders back ahead by one with 14:19 to go.
Jordan Eberle made it sting even more, beating Halak up high on a 2-on-1 with Barzal to make it 4-2 with 9:15 to go. Casey Cizikas took a delay of game penalty as a result of sending the puck over the defensive zone boards untouched a minute and 19 seconds after Eberle’s goal. So at least there was a glimmer of hope after a tough first half of the final frame.
Welp, that glimmer of hope didn’t turn into much as Jean-Gabriel Pageau made it 5-2 Islanders on a shorthanded breakaway chance just 15 seconds into the Bruins power play. Things were spiraling quickly.
They continued to spiral as Anders Lee found himself behind the defenders and potted a sixth goal of the game for the Islanders with 5:16 to go. Oliver Wahlstrom made it seven less than two minutes later.
The third period was genuinely astonishing. The Islanders just have the Bruins number this season. Four regulation losses, three against the Islanders.
One game you win 7-3 on Lake Tahoe, the next game you lose 7-2 at Nassau Coliseum. It’s a new occurrence for sure. We’ll see how they respond to it tomorrow night against the New York Rangers. Shots in the third period were 18 to eight in favor of the Islanders, bringing the final total to 37-36 in their favor. The Bruins are 11-4-2.
Final Score: 7-2 New York