By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @ndrsn27
Searching for their first win of the season against the Islanders, the Bruins donned their yellow reverse retro uniforms and welcomed back their number one goalie in Tuukka Rask. Tonight was also military appreciation night, which meant the Bruins sported some sweet military appreciation jerseys for warmups.
The fourth line started the game to set the tone, and they did just that. After a good first shift, the Bruins came out firing. They were shooting from all angles, and they were rewarded with a lucky bounce early. Just under two minutes into the game, new defenseman Mike Reilly got a quick wrist shot off from the left point that brushed off Brad Marchand’s back and off the camera in the back of the net for his 20th of the season. The primary assist on the goal also earned Mike Reilly his first point with the Bruins since being acquired from Ottawa at the deadline.
The Islanders clearly didn’t work on their discipline at practice this week, as they gave up eight minutes of penalties in the first period, including a four-minute high-sticking call against Brock Nelson. The Bruins were unable to strike on the first two minutes of the double-minor, but in the second half, Craig Smith kept his hot streak going with his tenth of the season. The winger took a pass from David Krejci and sent a one-timer into the bottom left corner, giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.
End of First Period: Bruins 2 – Islanders 0
First Period Shots: BOS 23 – NYI 7
After a dreadful first 20 minutes, it was the Islanders who started fast in the second period. Almost three minutes in, Travis Zajac took an unbelievable feed from superstar Matthew Barzal and slipped it past Rask to cut the Bruins lead in half. The goal was also Zajac’s first goal as a member of the Islanders.
The Bruins got a couple of good chances to retake their two-goal lead, but Islanders goalie Seymon Varlamov stood strong in between the pipes. After a Krejci penalty, the center came out of the box and one-timed a cross-ice pass right in his wheelhouse, but unfortunately, the shot went right into Varlamov’s chest logo.
With just under five minutes left in the period, Cal Clutterbuck caught Charlie McAvoy up high with his stick and sent the Bruins back to the power play. The Bruins were unable to convert again though, and they went into the locker room leading 2-1 after 40 minutes.
End of Second Period: Bruins 2 – Islanders 1
Second Period Shots: BOS 12 – NYI 11 (Total: BOS 35 – NYI 18)
The third period opened with another early goal, and this time it was the Bruins again! Even more exciting for Bruins fans is that the goal was scored by new acquisition Taylor Hall just under two minutes into the period. Hall broke down the left flank using his speed and slipped the puck through Varlamov’s five-hole for his first goal in black and gold, and his third of the season.
Snake bitten Bruins forwards David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle tried desperately to put the puck in the net themselves as the period went on, but neither forward could quite find the finishing touch. Pastrnak came the closest, out waiting Varlamov in front of the net and pulling the puck to his backhand, but he was unable to guide it on net. Coyle appeared to be shooting as soon as he got the puck, regardless of if that was the best option or not. I would like to see him relax a bit and just play his game. The goals will come with time and patience.
The Islanders pulled their goalie with two and a half minutes left trying to get back into the game, but the Bruins’ perfection line stifled those attempts. Pastrnak looked like he might be able to get the monkey off of his back with an empty-net goal, but he had to defer to Brad Marchand, who ripped a bad-angle shot into the gaping net for his 21st of the season and second of tonight’s game.
End of Third Period: Bruins 4 – Islanders 1
Third Period Shots: BOS 10 – NYI 5 (Total: BOS 45 – NYI 23)
The Bruins hung on to win this one 4-1, despite a late penalty on the struggling Jakob Zboril. The win also marked the 300th career win for Tuukka Rask, extending his lead as the Bruins’ all-time wins leader.
The Bruins looked much better in this game than they have all season against the Islanders, and it showed by getting their first victory. More encouraging news for Bruins fans is the fact that both of David Krejci’s wingers scored tonight. Second-line scoring is going to be crucial if this team is going to make a deep playoff run, and for the first time all season, we saw glimpses of that tonight. The Bruins return to the ice tomorrow against these same Islanders, looking to pick up another much-needed two points.