Oh man, this was not how tonight was supposed to go. Everything was pointed in the right direction. Patrice Bergeron was announced as a Selke finalist (for the 10th time, not a big deal), the Bruins announced their lineup and Jake DeBrusk was health-bombed, and David Pastrnak showed up at the TD Garden looking extra crispy. We got this right? Beautiful day in Boston, everyone getting oiled up all afternoon, time for the B’s to take a stranglehold on this series.
Game starts and just like that Pasta with the clapper puts the B’s up and we’re off and running. Right? Right?? RIGHT?!!? The Bruins controlled the pace and tempo from the opening shift when Chris Wagner almost put Pelech through the boards. Now an early goal and look out, the B’s will be going to Uniondale for an elimination game.
Ok, a late power play goal by Barzal tied the game up when he beat Tuukka Rask over the glove short side. Not a big deal, Rask had the angle and got a piece of the puck. The Bruins outshot the Islanders 11-7 in the first and controlled every aspect (except face-offs) of the game. Don’t sweat it. Let’s just keep it tight and in control and put this away.
Another power play for NY in the earlier part of the 2nd as once again, the Bruins get called for the retaliation. After Komarov sweeps Charlie McAvoy legs out from under him, Matt Grzelcyk gives a quick chop across Komarov’s back and DOWN GOES LEO. I mean you can take the player out of Toronto, but you can’t take the Toronto out of the player. On the ensuing PP, Palmieri is left alone at the left post and gets a Bailey pass cross crease that went through McAvoy’s legs and bounced off BOTH of Conor Clifton’s skates before landing right on his tape for the backdoor tap in. Gulp. I’m not nervous at all.
Brad Marchand decided to drag his nutsack over the entire NY defense after getting (possibly) boarded, and (definitely) cross-checked by Beaullivier in the Bruins end. When Stripes kept their hands down, Marchy decided to take it upon himself and evened the game with an unbelievable individual effort. Pasta handed him the puck as he entered the zone and after he turned Pulock inside out he outwaited Varlamov to pot the equalizer. Oh yeah, he did this with Nelson
riding piggyback back checking him the entire way. Tie game bitches.
Bailey put the Islanders ahead again when he put on the Cloak of Invisibility and was left alone in front of the Bruins net with Mike Reilly and Jeremy Lauzon each standing 3 feet away like Easter Island statues. Less than 2 minutes later, the Islanders scored again (on yet another power play, but at least this one was righteous) when Wags gave Barzal a little help flossing with his butt end. Then while killing the penalty, Jared Tinordi’s stick shatters and the Bruins were out there 5 vs 3.5 against a NY PP that was feeling it. Eberle beat Rask over the glove with no screen from the LW circle and the boo birds were out in the TD Garden. Just like that the B’s down by 2 heading into the final frame.
Jeremy Swayman was in the net to open the third and had an early wake up call as Eberle walked in alone out of the penalty box (yes, they finally called one on NY) and Sway shut the door. With less than 2 minutes gone in the period, Craig Smith tried to bank one off the boards and out; but Pelech went way up to glove the puck down and keep it in the zone. Pelech put the puck over to Beauvillier and he bunted it to Nelson in the slot and it was a 3 goal lead.
The Bruins pinned their ears back and dug deep to climb back into this one. Less than 2 minutes later, Pasta got his second of the night when he converted a one timer on the power play to bring the B’s back within a pair.
The Bruins threw everything they had at Varlamov and he stood tall. The Bruins were outshooting the Islanders 16-3 (with 14 straight SOG) when David Krecji finally cashed in. The silky winger backhanded a rebound that just leaked through Varlamov with less than 5 minutes left to play.
Once the Bruins pulled Swayman they had trouble getting set up in the NY zone and (in this humble blogger’s opinion), were looking for the perfect shot. It seemed as if they were looking to pass first and shoot second, which I’m sure can happen when you outshoot a team 44-19, that’s greater than a 2:1 margin for all you math challenged types.
Cassidy after the game said that the coaching staff decided to keep Rask out for the 3rd as there was “some maintenance that needed to be done, he wasn’t 100%”, I’m fairly certain he’ll get the start on Wednesday. Cassidy also mentioned the uneven (VERY generous description) officiating by not complaining about the officiating. It was masterful as he put it all on the Islanders, who’s own coach was “complimenting” Bergeron in the media yesterday about being “great at cheating during face-offs”.
Curtis Lazar left the game in the second after a big hit on Pelech and didn’t return. I thought Karson Kuhlman played better tonight than DeBrusk has in the last 3 games so I’d expect to see him stay in and possibly Trent Frederic (who can play center) on the 4th line if Lazar can’t go?
So now the Bruins will head to a lunatic asylum on Long Island facing elimination. They’ve come back from bigger deficits than this. Keep the faith, dear readers. Game 7 will be back in Boston.