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Boston Bruins 6, New York Islanders 1: Teams close preseason with bad blood, tomfoolery

A full building, a lopsided result in Bridgeport.

A photo of players and uniforms that were not in Bridgeport.
A photo of players and uniforms that were not in Bridgeport.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Islanders closed out their preseason schedule with a 6-1 loss against the Boston Bruins in Bridgeport, the home of the Islanders' AHL affiliate Sound Tigers.

The game was marked by poor play from most of the Islanders, some bad blood stoked by teams meeting for the second time this week, and one scary episode involving one of the Islanders best young players.

But first, a good showing from fans of both teams and their affiliates in Bridgeport, a sellout of 8,600 which was four short of the building's official record:


Despite the presence of John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, the Islanders fielded a very green and AHL-level lineup. The initial lines:

Dal Colle-Strome-Ho-Sang
Persson-Sundstrom-Collberg (Swede overload!)

The first line changed a bit after the Nelson injury, with Ryan Strome getting a brief look there in the third period even after Nelson returned (more on that later).


That middle D pairing seemed victimized a lot, but the bottom four are all destined for Bridgeport. TJ Brennan, however, looked impressive again and threw a couple of thundering hits to help physically punch back after things were out of hand.

It was a rough night for goalie Chad Johnson against his former teammates, but it was hardly his fault: He made several good saves, but was also stranded by several turnovers from a sloppy Islanders squad.

Brock Goes Down, Brock Comes Back

The most significant moment -- at least at the time -- was what looked like a high stick and definite boarding from behind by Kevan Miller on Brock Nelson, who was playing as a top candidate to be on John Tavares' left wing.

Here is a quick clip of the hit, posted by Bruins fan at @myregularface:

Check here for a closeup version by Days of Y'Orr.

Tavares, as he did in the previous game when Jordan Caron punched Kyle Okposo, jumped in to collar Miller. Brock Nelson left for the locker room, receiving a reported five stitches and returning to the game for the third period.

The hit led to a major and game misconduct for Miller, and the Isles struck quickly on a goal by Kyle Okposo. They came up empty the rest of the power play, however.

Further Silliness

Kael Mouillierat was penalized for running Malcolm Subban (who was impressive) on a break-in from the right wing -- technically the right call, though an odd sequence. Subban made the save, but then continued sliding wide of his post into the Mallrat's path. That led to the predictable scuffling behind the net and signaled that the rest of the game would have typical preseason chippiness.

When the Bruins scored early in the third period to make it 4-1, Ross Johnston challenged Chris Breen and was immediately tagged with a big punch that drew blood.

Not long after, Brett Gallant dropped Caron in quick fight, a bit of payback for Caron's ruckus-making in the previous game.

Reilly Smith finished scoring late in the third after winning a takeaway and neutral zone battle with Strome to take it in alone on Johnson and make it 6-1.

More Roster Cuts Expected Tomorrow

All told, it was a poor way to end the preseason, but ultimately with not much gleaned: The youngest and inexperienced half of the lineup looked it, and even the experienced group looked just okay. They're probably ready to get down to real business.

Speaking of which, Jack Capuano said the team would cut camp back to about 26-27 players tomorrow, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple. With that and the on-going injuries, that doesn't actually mean major decision-making just yet. But it narrows the focus, and the roster sketches that fans are doing on an hourly basis.