Bruins Top Islanders With 4-2 Win At Home
Anyone looking for a different way to spend a Friday night got their money’s worth during this one. The absence of Garden legend Rene Rancourt singing the national anthem was just about the only complaint any of the 17,565 screaming fans could have had about this end-of-the-week match-up.
Through three games, the 2013 Boston Bruins have yet to lose at home after a 4-2 victory over the visiting Islanders last night at TD Garden. Another home game and another two points for the B’s, who sit atop the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference with seven out of a possible eight points to open the abbreviated season.
Just ask Claude Julien what the Bruins did well in this one. “Net drive,” he’ll say, as the sixth-year head coach preaches that to his 20 players all game and season long.
Though The Garden was quiet at the start of this one, much like it was for Monday’s matinee, it came alive 4:52 into the first when Shawn Thornton knocked in a rebound to give the home team the lead. Thornton, who got into a bit of an altercation with New York’s Matt Martin during his first shift, came out the next time and buried the shot from point-blank range after Rick DiPietro made the initial save. Assists went to Daniel Paille and Dougie Hamilton on Thornton’s first of the year and first since March 27th of last year.
If The Garden wasn’t alive then, it certainly was a minute and a half later when Milan Lucic squared off with Matt Carkner just inside the New York blue line. It didn’t last long, as Looch got the takedown relatively easily and set the tone for the rest of the night.
After the Islanders jumped out to a 3-0 shots advantage, the Bruins had stolen the momentum with seven straight of their own until Keith Aucoin tied it up at 11:13 with assists going to Colin McDonald and David Ullstrom. The third line of the Bruins was out on the ice for the goal as Aucoin went five-hole on Tuukka Rask, who finished the night with 24 saves.
Things looked to get a little nastier after Paille laid Martin out in the Isles’ zone and he came back after Paille until Thornton stepped in and was going to go with him. Instead, the officials stepped in and put a stop to that, giving Thornton a 10-minute misconduct. For sticking up for Paille, who is three inches smaller and a few pounds lighter than Martin, Thornton was sent to the room early.
Somehow, Boston would end up with the power-play after all that, however, but, as is usually the case with this team, they could not capitalize. Through four games, this year, they are 1-for-14 on the man advantage – something they know they need to improve upon (27th in league). Their second power-play of the night was just ugly. They were unable to get any pressure – I mean, at all – and gave up a breakaway to Casey Cizikas coming out of the box.
The Bruins would find themselves on the penalty kill to begin the second period and, with a great effort by Gregory Campbell on the tail end of the power-play, were able to kill it off, but a few minutes later, Dennis Seidenberg was unable to get the puck out of the zone and New York capitalized. With the merlot line on the ice, Aucoin scored his third of the year and second of the night, unassisted, to give the Isles the 2-1 lead 9:50 into the second. It was the first multi-goal game of his seven-year NHL career.
The lead was short-lived, however, as four minutes later, the B’s would get the equalizer. Campbell, again crashing the net, took the feed from David Krejci and put it through the five-hole of DiPietro to tie the game up at two.
Just after Johnny Boychuk took a rocket in the leg and hobbled through the rest of his shift, Andrew Ference hit the post and Brad Marchand slid the puck just wide of the net with the chance to give the Bruins the lead back. Boychuk would return to the game after missing just one shift.
The score remained tied through the second intermission and beyond until just past the seven-minute mark of the third when the captain, Zdeno Chara, knocked one in from the point while a couple of unruly fans got into it in the first row barely 20 feet from him. It was his first of the season and it came from Lucic and Nathan Horton with 12:53 remaining in the game.
Then, came the dagger from the longest-tenured member of the organization. With just under six and a half remaining in the game, Patrice Bergeron split the very-far-apart D and took the feed from Marchand. He burst right down the middle, deeked DiPietro, dangled the puck and slid it past his left pad, just inside the post to make it a 4-2 game. Hamilton picked up his second assist of the night and third point of the season on Bergeron’s first of the year. Hamilton’s pass from just in front of the goal line hit Marchand right in stride and right on the tape to begin the break.
New York pulled Dipietro with two minutes remaining and The Garden crowd began chanting “Dougie, Dougie!” as the 19-year-old played a dominant role in a Boston flurry that resulted in multiple chances in front of the Islanders’ net. He really continues to be nothing short of brilliant just four games into his NHL career, seventh on the B’s in ice time with just over 18 minutes per game.
Tyler Seguin, still looking for his first goal of the young season, sent one just to the left of a wide-open net with under two to play and then Chara hit the post, bidding for his second of the night. In the final seconds of the game, and the outcome no longer in doubt, the famous “Teach me how to Dougie” resonated through the new Garden and No. 27, with a chuckle, was seen on the jumbotron dancing along on the bench and not missing a beat.
Not only has he been a solid defender thus far, Hamilton has also shown great poise and smarts in four games on the year. With the B’s on the power play in this one, he had an opportunity to pinch up and try to keep the puck in the zone. Sensing he would be beat to it, however, he dropped back and prevented a 2-on-1 from developing up ice.
Rask ended up stopping 24-of-26 shots and through four games, has a GAA of 1.96. Dipietro, who was playing in his first NHL game since Dec. 2, 2011, stopped 23 of the 27 shots put on him.
The Bruins ended up outshooting the Islanders 27-26 and out-hitting them, 35-27. As is usually the case for this team that possesses Bergron, Campbell and Chris Kelly, they won 36-of-59 faceoffs (61 percent). Bergeron alone finished 14-of-19 on the night. Krejci would finish the night plus-2, while Brian Strait would finish minus-3 for the Islanders.
The three stars of the game were Aucoin, Campbell and Hamilton.
The B’s have the rest of the weekend off and will be back in action Monday night as they head to Raleigh to take on the 2-2 Hurricanes.
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