The Bruins handed the visiting New York Islanders their 18th loss in their last 19 games on Thursday night with a 5-2 win at TD Garden.
The Bruins showed a lot of jump early and dominated the opening period while outshooting the Islanders 16-7 in the first period.
8:22 into the game, Adam McQuiad shed the mittens and swapped haymakers with NHL penalty minute leader Zenon Konopka after McQuid's check on Konopka. The fight started with punches and ended with a wrestling match as the two grabbled with each while still on their feet before the linemen stepped in. "The fight just kind of happened because of the hit," noted McQuaid, "when you get challenged sometimes you have to answer up".
Milan Lucic's power play goal off of a face-off at the left wing circle 6 minutes into the game gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead. Lucic collected a loose puck inside the face-off circle and got off a shot that stayed along ice. The puck took a fortunate bounce off the left post, caromed off the skate of Rick DiPietro and in. The goal was Lucic's team-best 14th tally of the season. Marc Savard, who took the draw, picked up his first point of the season as he was credited with an assist.
Frans Nielsen tied it up for the Islanders on a penalty shot 3:41 into the second period. Nielsen broke in all alone on Tuukka Rask while on the penalty kill and was hauled down by Patrice Bergeron, who made a diving effort to stop Nielsen. On the free shot, Nielsen deked out Rask and roofed a back hander over Rask's glove for his 4th goal of the season.
Just under 8 minutes into the second period, Trevor Gillies tried to find a dance pair in a scrum in front of Tuukka Rask's crease. On the next face-off, Shawn Thornton lined up across from Gillies, exchanged a few words, waited for the puck to drop, and squared off. Both fighters came out swinging wildly in a lengthy bout that appeared to end in a draw.
Brad Marchand took advantage of a miscue by Rick DiPietro to score a shorthanded goal and give the Bruins a 2-1 lead at 14:40 of the middle period. DiPietro came charging out of his net to play a puck. Marchand knocked down DiPietro's clearing pass, gained control of the puck along the goal line, and stuffed a backhander into the vacant goal for his NHL-leading third shorthanded goal of the season. "Soupy (Gregory Campbell) made a great play to get the puck down the ice and I just wanted to follow it up and get in [Rick] DiPietro’s lane," said Brad Marchand describing his second period goal, "luckily, he shot it right at me and I just put it in the open net".
The Bruins didn't look very sharp in the middle period, but were able to head to the dressing room with a 2-1 lead after two periods by taking advantage of DiPietro's error. Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro felt that his error may have cost New York the game saying "the difference between winning and losing is a play here or a play there. I don’t know, tonight, unfortunately, you know, that clearing attempt on our power play ended up costing us".
After 14:16 of scoreless hockey in the third period, the Bruins increased their lead with a power goal goal by Michael Ryder. Andrew Ference send the puck into the slot from the left wing boards and right onto the stick of Ryder at the top of the crease. Ryder's quick redirection gave the B's a two-goal lead and #73 his 8th goal of the season.
Down by two goals with almost three and a half minutes left, the Islanders made a bold move by pulling their goalie early and the move paid off as they pulled to within one goal with 3:33 to play on a goal from Rob Schremp. Schremp put home a rebound from the right circle that beat a diving Tuukka Rask for Schemp's 4th goal of the season.
Milan Lucic ended any hopes of an Islanders' comeback with an empty net goal with 1:13 left in the game. Lucic gained possession of the puck just inside his own blue line and sent the puck all the way down the ice and into the empty net for his 15th goal of the season and 4th empty-netter. "Guys are kind of bugging me for all these empty net goals, but I’ll take them any way I can", joked Lucic after the game.
Just for good measure, Patrice Bergeron added another empty-netter with 5 seconds left in the game to account for the 5-2 final score.
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- Steven Kampfer did not waste much time making an impact at the NHL level. Kampfer started the game and laid a huge hit on Blake Comeau right off the opening face-off. The B's rookie defenseman logged 13:50 in his NHL debut and registered 2 shots, 2 hits, and a blocked shot. He skated most of his shifts alongside Dennis Seidenberg.
"Obviously I was nervous going into the first shift, but Shawn [Thornton] came up and talked to me and he was like 'go out there, try and get a hit in your first shift' and that was easy enough, I guess".
Steve Kampfer on his first NHL shift
"I think he tried to show us everything he had in that first shift, right? Good hit, good first pass, and he was up the ice. I thought he played well for his first game. This is obviously his first ever league game in the NHL, so I liked what I saw and obviously there’s lots of room to grow and what he shows us tonight shows us great potential".
Claude Julien on Steve Kampfer's first NHL game
- A few Islanders might have some ugly bumps and bruise tomorrow courtesy of Zdeno Chara's slap shot. Radek Martinek left the game in the first period after getting hit hard in the wrist by a Zdeno Chara slap shot. Martinek, who looked like he was in a world of pain somehow returned to the game. In the third period, Chara nailed John Tavares with a shot as well that sent the Islander's sniper to down the tunnel. Tavares was also able to return to the ice.
"It was obviously pretty sore. That’s why when I was out there it was pretty sore. I came back in to make sure it was okay. I think we will take a look at it again, obviously. I am just glad X-rays came back negative."
John Tavares on getting hit by Zdeno Chara's shot
- The Bruins looked really flat in the second period and let the Islanders hang around for too long. This game was a lot closer than the score indicates.
- Tuukka Rask made 33 saves to earn his 2nd win of the season.
- Rick DiPietro stopped 32 shots in the loss.
- Patrice Bergeron won 13 of the 16 draws he took (81%).
Tweet of the Nighti hope looch gets his plan b at costco with all the scoring he does on a pulled goalie
- For more on tonight's game, head over to Lighthouse Hockey
- The Bruins are back at it on Saturday night when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.