The score does not do this game justice. It’s not too often you can sit down and enjoy a 4-1 loss, but this was the exception.
The first period saw both teams come out physical early on, trading hits and matching each other’s physical agenda. Isles head coach Jack Capuano did his best at the beginning of the frame to avoid the Tavares-Chara match-up that, apparently, he said he wasn’t worried about. Could have fooled me, Jack, with the timing of line changes.
The B’s would score first on McQuaid’s softy from the point that featured Evgeni Nabokov springing a leak on his left side as Andrew McDonald did a fantastic job of keeping the pesky Brad Marchand out of the way.
Michael Grabner had a glorious chance in the first after creating a turnover and breaking in alone against Tukka Rask only to be turned away by the Bruin’s star netminder. It was shortly after this Grabner chance that the Islanders started to move away from the physical portion of the game, which would prove costly in period two.
Late in the first period Casey Cizikas won a face-off in the Islanders zone that was quickly flipped into the neutral zone by Andrew McDonald. Josh Bailey picked up the puck around centre and skated it in eventually making a smooth pass to Cizikas for the equalizer at 15:49.
With under three minutes left in the period Radek Martinek avoided hitting Chris Bourque, opting instead to trip the Bruins player to send the Isles to the PK. Good thing for Martinek, though, the Islanders PK was straight out of the PK textbook tonight. Martin, McDonald and Grabner made beautiful plays during this kill to thwart the Bruins from taking a 2-1 lead.
The first would end in a 1-1 tie after a back and forth period of off and on physicality.
The second did not start well for New York with Brad Marchand scoring :38 into the period. If you read my gameday blog for this game you might remember the reference to a biblical breakdown that has plagued the Islanders on several occasions all year. Well, for the next 7 1/2 minutes it would seem like we were on our way to another one.
Physical play ceased to exist for the Isles, the takeways disappeared, the giveaways increased and the play was just generally sloppy.
At 5:16 David Krejci was the recipient of some nice passing by Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic as he snapped his 5th of the season past a delayed Evgeni Nabokov. A little over a minute later, an obviously frustrated, Mark Streit took a roughing penalty on Chris Kelly to send Boston to the PP. Not exactly the way you want your captain leading the team back from a 3-1 deficit. That’s a penalty you simply cannot take, especially if you have the “C” on your chest.
While on the penalty kill, Lubomir Visnovsky decided to give a fan a souvenir mid-play so he launched the puck clear over the glass from the Islanders zone. Along with a souvenir puck, Isles fans were treated to a 5-on-3 PK for the next 11 seconds, and then another 1:49 of hockey one man down again.
Visnovsky’s fan freebie would kick-start the Islanders again, though, reviving the physical game and sparking the turnover machine. The Isles started hitting again and they turned out another great penalty kill to keep the Bruins from getting farther away. The Bruins did have a great chance when some chaotic action was stirred up around the Islanders goal, causing Travis Hamonic to play hero and save a PP goal from finding the back of the net.
The Islanders continued to play more like the first period until the horn sounded to send them for a break.
The third featured some more back and forth play with both teams getting their chances. Kyle Okposo had his best shift of the season in the 3rd when he cycled the puck by himself all over the Bruins zone, threw himself around at players and had a few shots towards the net.
Play rolled along pretty steadily with no penalties called in the final frame.
New York continued the create turnovers, play a physical game and give themselves a chance to get back within one, but Tukka Rask had other ideas. Every time an Islander had a chance, Tukka was there to turn them away.
Despite letting a softy get by in the first period, Nabokov would do his part in the third by keeping the game within reach. With 13:08 left in the third he made a beautiful save on Rich Peverley to keep his team within two goals and his save parade kept rolling on, making several big stops to give the Isles some hope. The McQuaid goal is the only goal in this one that you can get mad at Nabby for, he held his own.
With approximately 2:40 remaining Jack Capuano showed signs of a coach who is at his wits end trying to win at home, either that or he thought it would be fun to play without a goalie for almost three minutes. I don’t agree with this move. Pulling a goalie with almost three minutes left when your team has question marks littered on their blueline and you’ve just given up 30+ shots in the previous 57 minutes doesn’t sit well with me.
The Islanders would be able to fend off a few missed empty netters before Greg Campbell would seal the deal for the Bruins with 1:05 remaining as he sent the puck sliding into the open cage.
It was a great game, back and forth, up and down and for one of the few times this season you can’t blame the goalie, because Nabokov played solid. Tukka Rask played a great game of hockey for Boston and he deserves credit for it. If you still think that this game was owned by the Bruins, here are some stats for you.
Giveaways: BOS 8 NYI 8
Takeaways: BOS 6 NYI 14
Hits: BOS 16 NYI 21
Shots: BOS 34 NYI 37
Blocked Shots: BOS 14 NYI 15
The Islanders came out on top of all the intangibles you want to come out on top of, but couldn’t find the back of the net to come away with the lead on the scoreboard. Here's a few quick notes on some of the players.
- Brad Boyes was horrific. He led the Isles with 3 giveaways, missed the cage twice and did not pass well.
- JT created some chances with some hard work consistently but was stonewalled by Rask.
- Kyle Okposo had a solid game. He was physical, generated chances, passed well and had some shots on.
- The second line was the best line, in my opinion, all night. The play always seemed to swing in favour of the Islanders when they were on the ice.
- The top unit were all -3 for the night.
Here are my Islanders 3 Stars
That’s all for now, thanks for reading. Find me on twitter @chiassontb