Boston, MA– The pressure was on the Islanders to continue their explosive play from the previous night’s win against the Maple Leafs, a team pale in comparison to the one awaiting them at TD Bank Arena.
But the Islanders bookended a flat, lackadaisical, and otherwise scattered team effort this evening, losing to the Bruins by a score of 4-2.
The Bruins outmuscled and outmanned the Isles for most the game, coming out of the gate early with a goal by Shawn Thornton, assisted by Daniel Paille, and ‘fan favorite’ Dougie Hamilton, at the 4:52 mark of the first period.
And for the first five minutes, the Islanders looked slow, playing out of position, and doing very little on the forecheck, not to mention the constant icing. Matt Carkner attempted to liven things up by taking on Milan Lucic, but play remained one-sided, favoring the B’s. And nothing came of the confrontation except for offsetting penalties.
Matt Martin also did his best to offer some semblance of grit to the Isles game and take some of the edge off of the Bruins forecheck, but is called for a fight that never happened: Martin gets a double minor for Unsportsmanlike Conduct at the 16:33 mark for doing nothing more than having a “stern” conversation with Daniel Paille, who had leveled Brian Strait inside the Isles zone.
Rick DiPietro looked shaky and clumsy at times, especially in the first and third periods, although he did produce some nice saves in the second, even if he wasn’t fully aware of them. But overall, poor puck cycling inside the Islanders’s zone helped the B’s with the victory this evening.
Keith Aucoin proved to be the most inspired Islander on the ice, scoring off the spirited forechecking of David Ullstrom and deft passing by the hard-working Colin McDonald, who feeds a rushing Aucoin, knotting it up for New York.
By the close of the first period, however, the Islanders were failing to remove the garbage in front of DiPietro and it caused for more chances than the Islanders could afford–an issue that would cost them dearly later on in the third period.
The Islanders played a solid 20 in the second, led by the hustle of the Isles’s third line and Keith Aucoin‘s consistent play, who’s been on a tear as of late. Aucoin buries McDonald’s pass from down low with a wicked slapshot top shelf (where Momma hides the cookies, to quote a Sabers’s announcer I am told) and the Islanders take the lead for the first time this evening.
But it would be short-lived, as the Bruins’s Gregory Campbell capitalizes on an accidental misdirect by Joe Finely’s skate, beating DiPietro low and to his left. As the Bruins’s announcer puts it, “Room Service for Campbell!” Room service indeed [the clip below involved Howie Rose, however:]
Although both squads had their spurts of brilliance and liveliness, the Isles looked to have the momentum to make run for the “W” come third period, provided that the clean up the mess in front of the net and remain solid on the forecheck.
By the 7:07 mark, however, the Islanders showed their fatigue, as their erratic play allowed for the Bruins to setup Zdeno Chara for a blast from the point that zipped past a blinded DiPietro. Chara’s tally would prove the go-ahead goal, and from then on it was all Bruins.
The Islanders return to the sloppy hockey (not that the Bruins were all that spectacular either; they just handled the opportunities to capitalize much better than the Isles) as per the first period.
Patrice Bergeron put the nail in the coffin at the 13:33 mark with a breakway that almost broke DiPietro’s hip. But in all honesty, the moves put on were a thing of beauty to behold. Not even Georges Vezina could’ve stopped it.
The Isles put on a last-minute show keeping the Bruins from scoring on their empty net, but the Bruins come away with the victory regardless. And that’s all folks….
It’s off to the noisy MTS Centre and the Winnipeg Jets, and the Islanders will have a much needed day off to lick their wounds and get right back in there.
After the game, Jack Capuano was asked to assess his team; here’s a snippet of what he said on the MSG Network:
"We needed all 20 guys to show up. And I didn’t see that tonight."
No names were mentioned, but it remains to be seen who’s riding pine on Sunday, and who will make their return to the roster.
Follow Rich Diaz @eyesonisles
**And for a Bruins fan’s perspective on tonight’s matchup, go to causewaycrowd.com and Mr. Billy Bryson will give you his exaggerated and skewed report on tonight’s events. (Heh. Just kidding.) Follow Billy at @BillyBrysonNHL. I do!
- Disappointed to see Matt Martin disappear for the latter part of the game. Aside from some minor run-ins with the Lucic and Paille, Martin receded to the background. Needed his presence a bit more. Push some B’s around a la Clark Gillies
- Keith Aucoin looked absolutely solid out there, scoring two decisive goals. He’s looking good right now!
- DiPietro is as rusty as I’ve ever seen him. Too quick to judge where his performance may go from here. Time will tell just how deep
the rabbit hole, I mean, the rust goes.
- The Islanders PK unit is the ONLY team detail worth mentioning, and very much so. The Isles are 13 out of 13 on the PK, tied for best in the NHL with those friggin B’s, who are 17 out of 17. (God help me with those B’s fans, indeed)
- Isles did keep pace with an equally unbalanced Bruins side, but the bigger, stronger B’s proved too much at present.
- Michael Grabner is my favorite Islander at the moment. He’s pretty much chasing everything down and fighting for chances on every shift. Keep your eyes peeled, for a breakout year is imminent.
- Sit Finley. Dress Martinek. Good day to you.
Here’s a little something to hold over B’s and Isles’s fans until the next matchup: