By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
With just three games remaining on the schedule, the Bruins looked to bounce back from a 5-3 loss to the New York Rangers when they hosted the New York Islanders on April 6th. Boston’s performance from the last game was nothing to be happy about as they allowed five unanswered goals after being up 3-0. It looked to be an easy contest for Boston as the Islanders would miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year. If the playoffs started today, the Bruins would be facing the Montreal Canadiens. However, depending on this game’s outcome, the Bruins could move up to the second-place spot or face either the Buffalo Sabres or New York Rangers.
Shawn Thornton would return to the lineup for Boston after missing three games before getting 40 stitches in his forehead. However, the Bruins would be without Shane Hnidy, Steven Kampfer, and Tyler Seguin. On the other side of the ice, the Islanders would be without Bruno Gervais, Jack Hillen, Milan Jurcina, Andrew MacDonald, and Frans Nielsen. The starting goaltender for Boston was Tim Thomas, who has been having the best year of his career, and the starting goaltender for New York would be Rick DiPietro.
1st Period Action
The first was underway, and both teams had early chances to get on the board. One of those chances occurred at the 7:03 mark when both John Tavares and Trevor Gillies were whistled off for penalties, and the Bruins had a 5-on-3 powerplay for two minutes. DiPietro was able to hold his ground in goal and didn’t let a shot by him as New York was able to kill off the penalty, and it was back to 5-on-5 hockey. As the period approached the final seconds of the period, Dennis Seidenberg fired a backhand shot off DiPietro. Shawn Thornton was able to scoop the rebound and score with just .01 remaining on the clock beating the buzzer. NESN announcer Jack Edwards was ecstatic and couldn’t believe it. It was Shawn Thornton’s tenth career goal, and both teams went to the locker rooms for intermission.
2nd Period Underway
The second period started, and Boston looked to ride momentum from Shawn Thornton’s late first-period goal. That wasn’t going to happen, though, as just 1:52 into the period, Rich Peverly was whistled off for tripping, and the Islanders were on their first powerplay of the night. The Islanders were able to capitalize on the Bruin’s mistake, and it was now tied at one. Michael Grabner has credited the goal, and it was his 32nd of the season. The Bruins looked to rebound from the goal and tried to stay out of the penalty box.
Four minutes later, Dennis Seidenberg was able to slapshot one past DiPietro, and it was 2-1 Boston. It was Seidenberg’s seventh goal of the season. Rich Peverly and Chris Kelly were credited with the assists. The Bruins looked to ride the momentum throughout the period, and they did just that. Just 78 seconds later, Gregory Campbell snuck one between the post and DiPietro’s left pad, and it was now 3-1 Boston. 13 seconds later, both Zdeno Chara and P.A Parenteau were sent to the box for roughing, and it was going to be 4-on-4 for two minutes.
Islanders Attempt to Claw Back
Six minutes passed in the period, and the Islanders found themselves shorthanded while still down by two. 21 seconds into Boston’s powerplay, Josh Bailey passed the puck up to Michael Grabner at the red-line; Grabner had a clear breakaway on Tim Thomas and was able to pot it and make it just a one-goal game. For the remainder of the powerplay, Boston wasn’t able to score, and it was still 3-2. The last 4:55 of the period vanished quickly, and it was a 3-2 game going into the 3rd period. The Islanders outshot the Bruins 14-10 in the period, but thankfully, Tim Thomas kept Boston ahead in this game. The Bruins needed to play a much sharper third period to hold on to the lead and win this game.
Third-period action was underway. Throughout the first seven minutes, no action really happened until the 8:34 mark when Matt Campanele unintentionally put one over the glass and was called for delay-of-game. Boston was on its fourth powerplay of the game and looked to put the dagger in the Islander’s hearts. The Bruins were unable to capitalize, and it was still a 3-2 game. It was still a dry period with little to no action occurring until six minutes left when Johnny Boychuk was called for roughing. The Islanders had an unbelievable chance to tie the game late in the period. Boston’s defense held off New York’s powerplay and held on for the rest of the game to win 3-2.
Two Games left on the Schedule
The Bruins win propelled them to 101 points, putting them just two points behind the second-place Flyers in the Eastern Conference. With only two games remaining on the Boston schedule, they wanted to make each one count and hopefully overtake the Philadelphia Flyers for second place. If the Bruins were able to do that, they would most likely face the Sabres or Rangers in the first round. If not, though, the Bruins would get the Montreal Canadiens, which would be a much anticipated first round with the history these two teams had this season. The three stars of the game were Shawn Thornton (one goal), Michael Grabner (two goals), and Gregory Campbell (one goal, one assist). Boston’s next game was April 9th against the Ottawa Senators.