The Boston Bruins were in the driver’s seat for most of the night, and came away with a deserved 4-1 win over the New York Islanders - a win that also saw Taylor Hall register his first goal as a Bruin.
“There were no passengers,” Bruce Cassidy said.
The victory also gave Tuukka Rask his 300th career regular season win.
It was a strong offensive effort from the entire team: the Bruins dominated the shot clock, outshooting the Islanders 45-23.
Only three defensemen did not register a shot. Eleven players registered three or more shots on net during the game.
“We started on time,” Cassidy said. “Nice to see us be ready to play.”
The Bruins opened the scoring at 1:59 of the first period.
Mike Reilly threw a shot at net where it deflected off not only Patrice Bergeron, but also Brad Marchand’s back and over Varlamov’s blocker.
The play continued as the puck bounced out of the net, but as soon as there was a stoppage, a review concluded that it was a good goal. 1-0 Bruins.
The Bruins controlled the game for the rest of the first frame.
The entire team did a good job of forcing turnovers in the neutral zone by stripping the Islanders of the puck and then keeping plays alive in the offensive zone.
The Islanders did have a shut-down penalty kill for three of their four during the period. They packed the front of the net and blocked most of the Bruins’ shots.
However, a four-minute Isles penalty allowed the Bruins to break through and finally score a power-play goal. Brock Nelson was called for high-sticking, getting four minutes.
With Charlie Coyle already in the box, that four minutes was reduced to three, but the B’s cashed in.
David Krejci found Craig Smith in the high slot, and with Semyon Varlamov screened by Nick Ritchie, Smith fired a one-timer past Varlamov blocker side. 2-0 Bruins.
The B’s outshot the Islanders 23-7 during the period, allowing only one shot from them through 13 minutes. The fourth line came out with force, driving to the net early and often.
Chris Wagner had three shots in the first nine minutes and ended up with four shots total in the first.
All told, it was a solid effort by the entire lineup over the first 20 minutes.
Things weren’t quite as great in the second, as the Islanders cut into their deficit at 2:56 of the period.
From behind the net, Mathew Barzal dished a pass to Travis Zajac in front for a quick shot over Tuukka Rask’s blocker. 2-1 Bruins.
The rest of the second period was more evenly played, as both sides had equal scoring and power-play opportunities.
The Islanders definitely had an advantage in taking away shooting lanes for the Bruins and blocked several shots, some of which looked like they caused quite a bit of pain.
Puck control bounced back and forth between the two, and the B’s ended up edging out the Isles in shots, 12-11.
The Bruins retook a two-goal lead at 1:52 of the third period.
David Pastrnak sent Hall on a partial breakaway. Skating into the offensive zone, Hall shielded the puck against Adam Pelech and went five-hole on Varlamov. 3-1 Bruins.
From then on out, the Bruins carried the momentum of the final frame, like most of the game.
Brad Marchand ended the game with an empty-netter, his second goal of the night, at 18:24 of the third period, to make the final score, 4-1 Bruins.
- Mike Reilly had a strong second game. He showed confidence in the offensive zone throughout the night. He read situations and was able to get back to the point after pinching down into plays. Reilly found open sticks and carried plays through the neutral zone to create cleaner zone entries.
- The Bruins’ second line had an excellent showing. All three skates had an impactful night and the trio continued to find their groove as a line. They had nice cycling and strength along the boards and behind Varlamov.
The Bruins are back at it tomorrow night against these same Islanders at 7 PM.