This afternoon the Boston Bruins took on the New York Islanders at the TD Garden looking to find consistency in their victory column, yet fell short once again. It seems they have fallen into a familiar win-lose-win pattern, becoming frustrating for everyone involved on and off the ice.
Despite being the first team to score in the closing minutes of the first period, the Bruins quickly gave up their one-goal lead just 2:26 later, a recurring theme as of late. While the play was a lot of back and forth movement and presented the Bruins with two power play opportunities, they were unable to capitalize and stayed tied at one heading into the second period leading the shots on goal 12-10.
The second period started out much like the first, Isles winning the face-off and the Bruins peppering Nabokov with shots from Krejci and Lucic. There was even a nice attempt from newcomer Brian Rolston (former Islander) and Benoit Pouliot, but it came up short as Pouliot’s stick snapped on the play. Athough they sported solid efforts in the second period, a quality the team has been lacking, the confidence would be knocked down a peg as goaltender Tuukka Rask went into a butterfly save and didn’t get back up. He waived the trainers over and was escorted off of the ice by teammates and medical staff, putting goaltender Tim Thomas in with just under half of the period remaining. With just 4:25 remaining Moulson from Tavares put the puck in behind Thomas and gave the Islanders their first lead of the game, closing out the second period.
Going into the third period the Bruins would have the edge in shots, leading 27-17, four of which belonging to team-high scorer Milan Lucic (along with Brad Marchand at 22). Despite losing Tuukka in the second period, the Bruins came out to battle in the third, having opportunity after opportunity on Nabokov. The shot that would make the difference would come from a pass from Zdeno Chara up to Tyler Seguin who used his speed to carry himself into the zone and make it all look easy as he put the puck in the back of the net to tie the game at two. (Seguin’s goal would also put him at the top of the team with Lucic and Marchand at 22 goals a piece) The Bruins carried the momentum throughout the third period, acting unharmed as teammate Daniel Paille went down the tunnel and never return, holding onto his mid-section. The atmosphere would feel eerily similar to that of the Cup Finals, with the Bruins wanting the win for their fallen team members. Unfortunately, with just over four minutes remaining the Islanders would catch a lucky break off of an un-called icing and sink the game-winner. It would later be stated that the Bruins thought MacDonald had iced the puck, allowing them to swiftly go through the zone and score. However, Claude Julien had some choice words of his own regarding the matter:
“We’ve got to play to the whistle, and you know, maybe it was icing, but, again, we still could have handled it better than we did.”(via @NHLBruins)
While it is still early on in the month, the Bruins have a few habits they need to break coming out of a not-so-great month of February. While Johnny Boychuk returned to the line-up tonight, Tuukka Rask will not be returning any time soon as he was seen spotted leaving the Garden on crutches and is not making the two-game road trip with the team along with Andrew Ference, suffering from a lower body injury. Currently there is no update on forward Daniel Paille, but he is not expected to be making the trip either, leaving room for goaltender Michael Hutchinson and forward Lane MacDermid of the Providence Bruins to show their stuff. The Bruins head to New York to take on the Rangers at 12:30pm EST Sunday afternoon, looking to bounce back and break the habits that seem to be hindering them.