Photo courtesy of YesIslanders.com
The Boston Bruins looked to end 2013 on a winning note against the last-place New York Islanders. Coming into the game, the Isles were on the outside looking in, sporting a 12-21-7 mark to put them dead last in the Metropolitan Division. They had been playing better of late however tallying a 4-3-2 record in their last 10 games, and they came into the contest looking to upset the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins who were on a hot streak heading into this game with a 7-3-0 mark in their last 10 games.
The Black and Gold looked to fare better than they did in their last game, as they fell at the hands of the Ottawa Senators by a 4-3 margin on Saturday evening. Goals from Daniel Paille, Jarome Iginla, and David Warsofsky were not enough to power Boston past the Senators who won what was a gritty match with the final tally scored by Bobby Ryan.
New York was looking to keep the good vibes going as they beat the Minnesota Wild by a 5-4 margin on Sunday. A pair of goals from Kyle Okposo, and one each from John Tavares, Cal Clutterbuck, and Thomas Hickey powered the Islanders past a very talented Wild squad.
Boston took control early as David Krejci rattled the cage at the 4:25 mark in the first period to make it a 1-0 game. Milan Lucic skated into the Islander zone with Jarome Iginla trailing behind him. Lucic fed the saucer to Iginla whose initial shot caromed off the pads of Evgeni Nabokov and to a waiting Krejci who skated to the front of the net. That was Krejci’s ninth tally of the year and gave the home team an early advantage. That was all the scoring for the first period, and things appeared to be going the Bruins’ way heading into the locker room.
The excitement of leading the game would fade away almost as quickly as the Boston lead when Frans Nielsen buried a snap shot past Tuukka Rask.Tavares took the puck into the Bruins’ zone and found Nielsen coming up on his right hand side, who fired the blazer tying the game at one. His 14th goal of the year was notched at the 5:56 mark.
Patrice Bergeron would answer Nielsen’s tally with one of his own, his 10th of the year at 5:56 in the second period.Reilly Smith took an initial shot at the Islander net that missed the cage entirely, causing the puck to ricochet around the boards to Ryan Spooner, who fed the puck promptly to Bergeron. Not wasting any time, Bergey flicked the wrist shot past Nabokov for the goal and just like that the Bruins regained the lead, 2-1.
There is a saying that lighting strikes twice, and Daniel Paille took that saying to heart as he tallied a goal 15 seconds after Bergeron and put the Bruins up by two. Paille played the puck behind the Islander net and the saucer made its way out to Zdeno Chara at the top of the blueline. The captain shot the puck and it deflected off Nabokov, but right to Paille who was still coming from behind the net for the goal, his fifth of the year. Now, the Bruins were up 3-1, but the resilient Islanders would not go away.
At the 16:30 mark, Nielsen struck again. New York brought good pressure into the Bruin zone. Thomas Vanek put a blazing shot on Rask who stopped it with his pads. A trailing Nielsen cleaned up Vanek’s mess however and put home his second goal of the game to cut the Bruins lead to one. 3:27 later, Okposo put home his 15th of the year on the powerplay to tie the game at three. Andrew McDonald shot it from the right side of the net and the puck deflected off Rask’s pads right to a streaking Okposo for the goal. That was his 15th goal of the year, and it knotted the game at three. That was all the scoring for the second period, and with the score tied, the third period promised to be an exciting one.
Tavares got things going in the third for New York as he put home his 15th goal of the year on a wrist shot. Vanek threw the puck towards the net and Tavares cleaned up the rebound as he shot it from the side of the net, where it bounced off of Rask and in for the goal. This occurred only 32 seconds into the period and gave New York a 4-3 lead.
The final dagger was put into the Bruins’ hearts when Tavares hit the mark again for his 16th goal of the year on the powerplay. Okposo fed the saucer to MacDonald who fed it to Tavares who had a huge lane to shoot and he made the most of his opportunity, giving New York a 5-3 lead and as it turned out a 5-3 win.
Nabokov got the win, improving to 8-7-5 while Rask got the loss dropping to 20-9-2. The Islanders play again on Thursday evening against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 PM, while the Bruins take on the Nashville Predators at TD Garden Thursday for a 7 PM puck drop.