Dougie Hamilton and the Merlot Line stole the show in what started off as a sloppy affair at the TD Garden.
In a game that surprisingly left Rick DiPietro intact, the Bruins turned a messy first half into a victorious affair. Let's break it down.
Things that were good:
The penalty kill. The Bruins and Islanders remain the only two teams who are perfect on the PK, and maybe if the Bruins' power play were a little better, the Bruins would be alone at number one. Numerous shorthanded opportunities - including one beautiful one by Bergeron - reminded us all of what we know too well: the Bruins are more likely to score shorthanded than on the man advantage. There is something wrong with this picture, but it's definitely not the 17/17 perfect PK.
The Merlot Line. May this line never be broken up. They accounted for 50% of the team's offense tonight, with Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell each notching goals. Through the first and part of the second periods, it seemed like none of the other lines could muster anything - but as the Merlot line goes, so usually do the Bruins.
Dougie Hamilton. (Really this should be item #1 but I'm trying to go in chronological order, here.) Where do I begin. He was on ice for Keith Aucoin's second goal of the night, true, but aside from that, kid was very solid in his own end. With Seidenberg back, Hamilton's ice time was decreased to 16:13, but even so, he still doesn't look like a 19-year-old playing in his fourth NHL game. According to him, we're all way more surprised than he is that he's this comfortable already - and true, he did play 30+ minutes a game in Niagara - but still. He has a great eye for which shots to put on net, for who's where on the ice, and his two assists tonight were increasing proof of that.
Things that were not good:
The power play. How much more needs to be said that hasn't already? It's converting at something like 5% right now, which is pretty horrendous. Whoever had the brilliant idea to put David Krejci on the point really needs to stop what they're doing immediately. It's broken and definitely needs fixing.
Johnny Boychuk. Although he did take one hard shot right to the body and come right back, which is pretty commendable, his play has looked pretty terrible. Yes, that's pretty much his style of play - it makes his good hits/plays look good and his bad plays look spectacularly bad - but he hasn't made any good plays lately, is the problem.
Everything that happened in the first period that wasn't by the Merlot Line. Particularly, David Krejci and Rich Peverley (I know, sorry, I'm dissing Raptor Jesus, please don't kill me) made some horrendously awful turnovers that lead to very good scoring chances by the Islanders. Remember that whole 60+ minutes to history thing, guys? Let's get back on that.
Things that were ugly:
Matt Carkner's face, after getting punchisized by Milan Lucic. Well, to be fair, he was ugly already, but....