The victory came on the heels of an explosive night from David Pastrnak, in which he recorded a hat trick and had seven shots on net.
“He’s feeling it,” Bruce Cassidy said of Pastrnak. “Goal scorers get hot sometimes... He’s finding some ice and shots are going in.”
It was a special night before the puck even dropped and a date circled on the calendar for both Bruins fans and residents of Massachusetts. The game was the first time since March 7, 2020 that the Bruins played in front of 18,000+ fans. It just so happened to fall on the day the state lifted COVID restrictions, making it possible for a near-capacity crowd.
“On the warm-up, it felt like 22 players playing their first NHL game, you know everybody looking around.” Pastrnak said of having all the fans back.
“It’s been a long time since we had a full house at the [TD] Garden and they were behind us from warm-up on,” Cassidy said. “Obviously we want to play well for the group and each other, but also for the fans who’ve continued to support us and came out tonight especially.”
Pastrnak’s hatty gave the Bruins and Cassidy a chance to soak in the atmosphere that was electric in the building from the moment fans sat in their seats.
“It was a good moment to look around and see a lot of joy.,” Cassidy said.
There was high energy to start the game, as the Bruins fed off the crowd and were buzzing through the first minutes of Game 1.
Patrice Bergeron and his line mates had some of the best looks on Ilya Sorokin in their early shifts. Brad Marchand and Pastrnak also brought the muscle and threw heavy hits towards Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock.
The Islanders opened the scoring at 11:48 of the first period on the power play.
Noah Dobson threw a wrist shot towards net where it deflected off Anthony Beauvillier’s stick out front and over Tuukka Rask’s blocker. 1-0 Islanders.
Beauvillier with the deflection! pic.twitter.com/H7tN1JGanU— x - New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) May 30, 2021
Sorokin gave up huge rebounds throughout the period and the Bruins finally capitalized on one just nine seconds into the man-advantage.
The Bruins tied it up with a power-play goal of their own at 19:36 of the first period.
David Krejci sent a wrist shot at Sorokin. Pastrnak found the lengthy rebound inside the left circle where he took his time, moved in closer and let a wrist shot fly over Sorokin’s glove. 1-1 tie game.
The Bruins outshot the Islanders 18-8 during the first frame. Bergeron’s line had half of those shots. Krejci added four of his own.
The B’s again started the second period on time and had good opportunities from Pastrnak and Taylor Hall right away. Hall kept plays alive in the offensive zone and created scoring chances by controlling puck movement.
The Bruins took the lead at 11:08 of the second period.
Marchand found Bergeron inside the right face-off circle where he sent a wrist shot at Sorokin. Again, Sorokin left a rebound which came out to Pastrnak positioned inside the left circle for a one-timer on net before Sorokin could reset himself. 2-1 Bruins.
The Islanders answered back and evened the game at 12:34 of the second period.
Jordan Eberle set Adam Pelech up with a one-timer from the high slot that flew over Rask’s glove. 2-2 tie game.
The Bruins let their guard down in parts of the second period. They threw passes right into the Isles’ skates. The Islanders also broke up the B’s transitions in the neutral zone with their forechecking.
Overall the Bruins had better puck possession, but got cute with passing and should have shot more instead of continuing to cycle.
The Bruins continued to outshoot the Islanders though through the second period, with shots favoring them 12-4 in the middle frame.
The B’s found themselves on the penalty kill at the beginning of the third period, as they were called for too many men on the ice. But shortly after a successful PK, Connor Clifton helped start the rush that gained offensive zone possession with Nick Ritchie getting out of the box.
The Bruins took the lead at 6:20 of the third period.
Krejci fed Charlie McAvoy a one-timer at the high slot where he fired a blast past Sorokin with traffic in front. 3-2 Bruins.
The Bruins extended their lead at 15:50 of the third period as Pastrnak recorded a hat trick with his third goal of the night.
From center ice, Pastrnak carried the puck to the slot for a wrister over Sorokin’s blocker. 4-2 Bruins.
Hall added an empty-net goal for good measure at 18:35 of the third period. Final score: 5-2 Bruins.
The Bruins did lose Craig Smith during the game as he left with a lower-body injury. We’ll keep you posted with any updates.
The Bruins host the Islanders on Monday May 31 at the TD Garden for Game 2.