It wasn’t always pretty, and it was often stressful, but the New York Islanders managed to get a point in Boston, losing in a shootout. Down two goals pretty early against the league leading Bruins, it would’ve been easy for this game to turn into a blowout loss, but the Isles showed a lot of character to get back into the game.
If they had cleaned up some of their sloppier play, especially on the power play, maybe they could’ve even won tonight. But we can’t deal with “what ifs” and with both Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey missing their shootout attempts, the Islanders will have to settle with a point to start this 5 game road trip.
The Islanders were the better team early on, pressuring the Bruins and getting a few really solid scoring chances. Zach Parise picked up a Boston turnover but didn’t have a ton of space to get a great shot off, so Linus Ullmark was able to save that. Anders Lee had a wide open net, but it seemed like the puck just rolled off his stick a little before he could get a good shot off.
Semyon Varlamov made a big save on David Pastrnak to keep the Isles’ momentum going. That momentum came to a grinding halt, however, when JG Pageau hit the post and then Zach Parise ran into Ullmark, getting himself a penalty for goaltender interference. Jake DeBrusk scored just 15 seconds into that power play, deflecting a shot from Pastrnak.
19 seconds after that, DeBrusk would score again, with a pass deflecting off Josh Bailey and past Varlamov. Lane Lambert called a timeout to calm the Isles down, and then they kept pushing, looking to get back into the game. A few minutes later, Josh Bailey made up for his unfortunate deflection by getting the Islanders on the board with a deflection of his own.
The Bruins were the ones who came out pushing to start the second period, and got on the power play when Ryan Pulock was called for hooking. Their man advantage would be short-lived, because DeBrusk was called for tripping just 10 seconds later, turning this into a 4 on 4. Then, Scott Mayfield was hit by a high stick about a minute and a half later, giving the Islanders a brief 4 on 3, then 5 on 3, then a regular power play.
Unfortunately, all of those were pretty bad for the Islanders.
A few minutes later, though, Noah Dobson would tie the game with a laser that went off the post and in.
Varlamov had to make a few good saves after that tying goal, notably a pad save on Pastrnak in tight.
The Islanders got another power play opportunity as AJ Greer was sent to the box for roughing, but had another garbage man advantage that resulted in more dangerous Bruins chances and Derek Forbort scoring a short handed goal to make it 3-2 Boston late in the second.
After that, Greer and Matt Martin fought, and that just about ended the period. A frustrating one, for sure.
Scott Mayfield gave the puck away to Brad Marchand early on, but fortunately Marchand missed wide to bail him out.
Then, Casey Cizikas scored his second goal of the season to tie the game at 3. The puck took a weird bounce to get there, but hey, a goal’s a goal.
The Bruins really started applying pressure as the game went on, and Varlamov was key in making sure the Islanders would secure at least one point. It felt like the entire last few minutes of the game were played in the Islanders’ defensive zone, with the lone exception being a Sebastian Aho and Mat Barzal 2 on 1 where Aho’s pass didn’t quite connect with Barzal.
The Islanders held on to go to overtime.
Overtime was pretty exciting! Both teams had some good chances to end the game but the goalies were solid, keeping us even at 3-3 and forcing the Islanders and Bruins to head to the shootout.
In the shootout, Mat Barzal scored for the Islanders, while Brock Nelson hit the post and Josh Bailey missed. Charlie Coyle had his shot saved, while Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak both scored, giving the Bruins the win.
- The Islanders’ comebacks continue to be pretty impressive, even though sometimes the team will just put up a dud game. For better or for worse, it’s fair to say these don’t seem like the typical “boring Islanders” anymore.
- I know we’re a little bit short on second line forwards with both Kyle Palmieri and Anthony Beauvillier out, but the fact that the next guy up is Cal Clutterbuck (who was fine tonight, but still) definitely seems like a sign this team still needs a little more offensive oomph.
- Alex Romanov had a nice defensive play in the second before Dobson’s goal to break up a dangerous cross ice pass. I think he’s been a bit of a mixed bag in his Islanders tenure so far, but definitely a lot to like about Romanov’s game.
- It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago that the penalty kill was indestructible... what happened?
Next, the Islanders head to Mullett Arena to face the Arizona Coyotes. As a fan of a team with all of our own arena angst over the years, I really empathize with the Coyotes fans, and certainly feel for the players dragged into playing in an arena that is only suitable for an NHL team in the sense that an NHL team is currently playing there. But I actually think seeing a pro team at a tiny college rink is a fun concept. I hope the Islanders fans that are there take advantage of that and get loud.