BOSTON - The Bruins earn much better results when the game does not extend past 60 minutes.
The Islanders skated out of TD Garden with two points, besting the Bruins by a score of 3-2. Despite a relentless effort in the third period, one in which the Bruins had 17 shots compared to ten through the previous 40 minutes, the Bruins were unable to win the game in regulation. A back and forth overtime commenced, where both goaltenders stood tall. In the end, a pair of lethal shootout moves by Jordan Eberle and woulda-coulda-shoulda been Bruin Mathew Barzal doomed the Bruins.
With the result, the Bruins fall to 0-5 in shootouts, adding to their 2-3 record in the overtime period.
“Shoutout - good shots. It’s hard to fault the goalie there, they’re good shots,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Pastrnak scores a nice goal, Charlie (McAvoy) had a good shot that hits the pipe and theirs goes in. So again, it comes down to a little bit of inches in the shoutout.”
The first two periods were not the most entertaining affair in terms of action, yet consisted of two defensive minded teams duking it out. The Bruins and Islanders entered the contest ranked third and fourth respectively in terms of goals allowed in the league and neither team was content to budge from their style.
“We’re a good defensive team too, correct?” said Cassidy. “So we’re not going to sell the farm and get out of our comfort zone and play their style. It’s just how they play. Now, we were off net with some of our chances where we had to do a better job so you get rebounds . We turned down opportunities to shoot from the perimeter and then drive the net to get those inside rebounds since they don’t let you in there originally. I mean, there’s certain ways you can create some offense against this team.”
Entering Thursday night, the Bruins and Islanders were the second and third place teams in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders physical, defensive-style oriented around packing the middle of the ice and eliminating cross-ice passes frustrates the opposition and plays well towards a playoff-style environment. In a game promising to be a battle of NHL heavyweights, the matchup did not disappoint.
The result drops the Bruins to 3-4-3 in their last ten contests. Despite the lackluster stretch, the Bruins still hold a ten point lead over the second place team in the Atlantic Division, the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens.