A Bad Bounce Evens the Series

The Bruins hosted the Islanders tonight for the 2nd game in their second round matchup. The B’s mounted a furious comeback, but fell short during extra hockey where they were victimized by a bad bounce to lose 4-3 in OT.

The lineups were mostly unchanged as the Islanders only made one substitution; inserting Semyon Varlamov between the pipes. On the Boston side, Craig Smith was out of the lineup due to a lower body injury sustained in Game 1, so in came Karson Kuhlman on the Charlie Coyle line. Jake DeBrusk moved up to take Smitty’s spot on the David Krecji line as the rest of the lineup card remained static. 

Former South Shore King Charlie Coyle got the Bruins on the board when he converted the first shot on net early in the first. Kuhlman picked off Barzal at the Bruins blue line to send Coyle away into the Islanders’ zone. Coming over the NY blue line, the local favorite split the Islanders defense and dragged left to right avoiding Varlamov’s poke check to tuck the puck far side. The Bruins carried the play for the rest of the opening frame as they outshot the Islanders 14-6 and had the edge in “offensive chances” 11-5, which admittedly is a bogus stat at best. 

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on May 31, 2021.

In the 2nd period the Islanders had the edge in zonetime and pushed the pace of play. They employed an aggressive fore-check that had the Bruins’ defense under siege for most of the period. Quick heads up for Bruce Cassidy, that ‘aint Laviolette coaching on that other bench, Barry Trotz actually knows hockey. The Bruins didn’t adjust as quickly to the Islander’s more aggressive play and it cost them on the score sheet. Josh Bailey evened things up when his cross-ice pass on the power play deflected off Jeremy Lauzon’s skate and beat Tuukka Rask 5-hole about 7 minutes into the period. Kyle Palmeiri put the Islanders ahead when he was left unmolested down low and punched one through the Bruins net minder when the puck came off the end boards right to him at the left post.  

NY went up by 2 when JG Pageau potted yet another power play goal with less than three minutes to play in the period. Mathew Barzal walked down the RW wall and dished to Anthony Beauvillier at the right post. Beauvillier spun the puck on his backhand across the crease to Pageau at the opposite post beating Rask left to right. And once again, there’s another unmolested Islander’s player in the blue paint. 

Originally tweeted by x – New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) on June 1, 2021.

Up 2 goals the Islanders were stacking the neutral zone and not giving the Bruins any easy entries. Cue the Viagra: as the Erection Line popped up! Just past the 10 minute mark Patrice Bergeron pulled the Bruins within a goal when he converted from the high slot. At this point, can we officially call the high slot “Bergy’s Office”? Pierre McGuire referenced that on the broadcast, and I actually like it. You have Gretzky’s Office out back and Bergy’s out front. Brad Marchand rimmed the puck around to David Pastrnak at the right point where he slid it back down the wall to Marchand who was coming out from behind the net. Marchy gathered the puck at the RW dot and fed Bergy for a one timer from the high slot and the boys were buzzing. 

#NHLBruins

#NHLBruins

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on June 1, 2021.

With less than 5 minutes to play, Charlie McAvoy corralled the puck at the left point and walked the blue line finding Marchand at the top of the LW circle. Marchy slid to his right on his off wing to improve his angle and snapped a wicked wrister to beat Varlamov over the glove. Tie game and it felt as if all of the momentum was now with the Bruins.

In OT both teams dominated play for long stretches as the first whistle to stop play came at the 7-minute mark. In tight games like this it’s always the same. The goalies stand on their heads, the teams get ever increasing zone times and someone converts on a bad bounce. Tonight it was Lauzon who looked to go point to point at the NY blue line only to see his cross ice pass kick off Coyle’s skate and send Casey Cizikas away where he beat Rask over the blocker to spoil the comeback. 

The teams head to Long Island for a pair at the Coliseum Thursday and Saturday. 

Plus/Minus

Plus:

  • Can’t lay this game on Rask and of course, I’ve already seen people doing so online. He was nails once again tonight. Guys left alone on the doorstep all night and a fluke goal off a skate.
  • Took about a period, but the defense adjusted to the NY forecheck. Now they know what’s coming so it should be easier to address going forward.
  • Curtis Lazar, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner had an effect on the game tonight as the NY defenseman were hurried whenever they were out there. Keep it going.

Minus:

  • Tough night for Lauzon – 2 goals on bad bounces where he was involved. Looking for him to bounce back big time next game
  • Brandon Carlo got sucked into Leo Komarov’s game and took a dumb penalty. Komarov will not fight, he’s what we used to call a “telephone tough guy”. He’s all about it when the ref’s (or Matt Martin) are there, but won’t drop them. Don’t wasted your time with him, just run him through the glass when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Penalty Kill has to be better, as does the power play. The game is all about adjustments, and tonight the Bruins couldn’t make adjustments in time and couldn’t react to the Islander’s adjustments in real time. Hopefully a day on the practice ice remedies that.

Game Notes:

  • Tuukka Rack played in his 100th career playoff game tonight.
  • The Bruins had the Hoyt brothers: Rick, Rob and Russ as fan banner captains at tonight’s game. If you don’t know the story about the Hoyt’s it’s worth your time doing a little Googling, but to sum up: Their late father Dick, pushed Rick (a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy) in his wheelchair through marathons and tri-athalons from 1984 through 2014 including 32 Boston Marathons. Dick Hoyt passed away this past March
  • Charlie Coyle is now the leading playoff goal scorer in Bruins history that was born in Massachusetts with 14 goals. Local legend Bob “Swoop” Sweeney is now in second place.

Boston's spirit personified.

Tonight's fan banner captains – honoring their late father, Dick – were Rick, Rob, and Russ Hoyt!

#NHLBruins

Originally tweeted by Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) on June 1, 2021.

On a personal note, I want to thank our captain Ked for giving me the keys to the Twitter account this past Saturday night for Game 1. For those of you who want to see the metamorphosis of a humble Bruins blogger into the actual personification of “your cousin.. from Boston”, take a scroll back through the Twitter timeline. As cringeworthy as it was for me, I’m sure it will be that hilarious for you.

Author: Brownie

Hockey fan/player from the greater Boston area.

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