Your Boston Bruins traveled to
Uniondale Barclay’s Center the UBS Arena on/in Long Island to take on the NY Islanders tonight. In the House that Billy Joel built, the B’s didn’t bring the effort for the full 60, and they drop a game in which they could have easily grabbed 2 points.
Patrice Bergeron was back in the lineup and centered the top line between Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. Charlie Coyle was between Craig Smith and Trent Frederic and Erik Haula was at the pivot between Nick Foligno and Jake DeBrusk. The 4th line was Anton Blidh and Curtis Lazar at the wings with Tomas Nosek in the middle. On the back end, Bruce Cassidy kept Mike Reilly with Charlie McAvoy and paired Matt Grzelcyk with Brandon Carlo. Urho Vaakanainen made his return to the lineup skating with Derek Forbort. Linus Ullmark was in net, facing off against Ilya Sorokin for the Isles.
The first period was all Bruins. Good puck pursuit, a dogged fore-check and crisp outlet passes kept the Islanders penned in for long stretches. This was a continuation of the game the Bruins played against the NYR Tuesday, and things were looking good. Hall got the Bruins on the scoreboard when he beat Sorokin off the near post. Hall carried the puck out of his own end and broke down the LW wall into the NYI zone. With his legs going and his head up, Hall drove to the outside and beat Sorokin short side. I don’t know if Hall saw him come off the post, but you can clearly see the gap Hall was shooting at.
That score held through the end of the period and the Bruins took it into the locker room. You would hope they came out with the same game plan for the 2nd and continue on their way to the W and those all important 2 points. You… would… hope… instead both teams adjusted. The Islanders came out and activated their 2 man fore-check and were winning foot races for the puck. They were working the puck through the neutral zone with short passes and were able to set up sustained pressure in the Bruins end. The Bruins… (apparently) hit the snooze and were unable to get anything going until the final minutes of the middle frame.
JP Pageau got the Islanders on the board when he tucked in a leaky rebound behind Ullmark. Noah Dobson unloaded a clapper from the point that Ullmark got with his body, but the puck just trickled out behind him and Pageau was driving the net for the easy tap in. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a 12-14 times: Good things happen when you go to the net. The Bruins finally got it revved up to close out the period, but had nothing to show for it as time expired. The teams left the ice tied at 1 and this was setting up to be a great 3rd period.
Unfortunately, the Bruins play in the final frame continued in the same vein as the 2nd period. Instead of making the simple pass to initiate the break out and come through the neutral zone with some speed; the Bruins tried time after time to force passes and carry the puck into the offensive zone. For good portions of the 3rd, they couldn’t gain the red line let alone the the Islanders zone. This of course, led to more NY chances and the Islanders got the lead early when Dobson put one in through a screen from the blue line. There was a forest of sticks and bodies in front of Ullmark, but I’m sure the Ice Bear Dude would have wanted this one back.
Of course it wouldn’t be a NYI/BOS game without Mat Barzal scoring and DeBrusk sucking. Barzal got his 12th of the season when he buried a rebound behind a scrambling Ullmark. I mean Ullmark made the first 2 saves and there were only 4 Bruins in front of the net when Barzal got his cookie, what are you gonna do? Sheesh.
And then, just for shit and gigs: Zdeno Chara gets the apple on Brock Nelson’s ENG. Woof, that game was ugly. The Bruins head to Ottawa for a tilt Saturday night before coming home to host Colorado for a Monday matinee. Hopefully Cassidy has one of those Men In Black blinky things and can erase this game from the Bruins’ memory. Actually if you have one Butchie, shoot this game out of my brain too. If you’d like to get the taste of this game out of your mouth (without any memory eraser), the NU Huskies travel to CT to take on UConn Fri night.
- Patrice Bergeron and Urho Vaakanainen were back in the lineup tonight. Both played well albeit slightly rusty. Bergeron had the 3rd most minutes of the forwards and Vaakanainen trailed only Charlie McAvoy in TOI on the back end.
- I fully endorse the line of Charlie Coyle – Craig Smith – Trent Frederic. For much of the game they were the Bruins’ best line. Fully engaged and playing 200 feet, yes please. Stick taps for Frederic for a lengthy conversation with Chara in the first period, kid is fearless.
- Erik Haula played well (again) and was elevated to the Coyle line at the end of the game. I mean I feel bad for Haula as he’s played great since his early season health bomb. I don’t know what he did to go from skating with Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak to be punished between the ghost of Nick Foligno and the Human Anchor, but he keeps on grinding and doing his part.
- Taylor Hall has ramped up the offensive drive and I’m here for it. 7 shots on net and fully engaged. Just give him the puck and let him go. He’s best when carrying the puck that’s why Marchand needs to get back as Bergeron and Hall’s games don’t mesh as well.
- Jake DeBrusk. The NYI go ahead goal was all generated from his half ass offensive play and then his lackadaisical (actually non-existent) backcheck. This fucker can flat out fly, but chooses to not. I mean if you really want off this team, then play hard and make yourself an attractive commodity. At this point, I’d rather see Connor Clifton on the 3rd line, at least he gives effort.
- David Pastrnak is not himself. He’s a walking turnover and was nonexistent tonight. He was a -2 with 3 blocked shots in over 21TOI to go along with his 0-0-0 stat line. If Marchand is out, it’s up to Pasta to help carry the load.
- Speaking of Brad Marchand: The Bruins are 1-2-1 without #63 while he appeals his suspension. Does anyone else think that the NHL is going to drag out their decision on his appeal for the 6 games? If you missed it, we talked about the Marchand suspension on the pod this week. You can find it here.
- Zdeno Chara is 3 games away from tying Chris Chelios for the most GP by an NHL defenseman.
As always, feel free to let me know how awesome all my opinions are @abrow28