Isles Insights: Islanders fall to Bruins in Final Game of Road Trip

Dec 9, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (63) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Isles Insights: Islanders fall to Bruins in Final Game of Road Trip

Islanders

Isles Insights: Islanders fall to Bruins in Final Game of Road Trip

BOSTON —  A Boston Bruins power-play goal in the second and a goal midway through the third period sunk the Islanders Saturday night and sent the team back to New York on a sour note to end a four-game road trip. The Bruins came away with the 3-1 win over the Islanders

It was Brad Marchand power play goal in the middle of the second period that broke a scoreless game. Marchand scored 40 seconds into the Bruins first power play of the game. The Bruins’ forward flew into the Islanders’ zone after receiving a pass from Torey Krug and firing the puck through the five-hole of Jaroslav Halak.

The nail in the coffin came in the middle part of the third period when Jake DeBrusk scored on a turnaround shot from the slot that beat Halak. The goal gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead and helped curtail any momentum the Islanders had been trying to build.

The Islanders managed to get one back late in the game just after a power play expired. Anders Lee tapped the puck past Tuukka Rask for his 17th goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback. Danton Heinen scored an empty-net goal moments later to seal the Boston win.

The loss moved the Islanders record to 1-2-1 through their four-game road trip. The Islanders return to the Barclays Center to host the Washington Capitals on Monday night.

Isles Insights 

1. That one was a tough loss for the Islanders. They managed to survive a first period in which they were sluggish out of the gate and relied on Jaroslav Halak to keep the Bruins at bay. The Islanders goaltender seemingly was doing his job well, until that first power play goal in the second period.

2. There were certainly a few upset people on social media with regards to Jaroslav Halak’s play, but the Islanders goaltender wasn’t that bad on Saturday night. Halak finished the night with 30 saves and a .938 save percentage against a Boston team that made him work for some of the tougher saves he had to make.

Still, it’s hard to argue that the first goal was one Halak could have and should have stopped, and it was the one that turned the tide of the second period.

3. One thing that made that first goal sting even more was the fact that it came on while the Bruins were on the power play. The penalty kill has been a point of emphasis for the Islanders recently as their struggles on it have become more apparent in recent games. They had entered Saturday having allowed two power-play goals in their last four straight games and with Saturday’s power-play goal the Islanders have given up at least one in nine of their last 10 games.

The Islanders had spent part of Friday’s practice in Boston working on special teams.

“It’s unfortunate it’s on the rush like that,” Islanders head coach Doug Weight said. “It’s a poor read. You have to know what you’re doing. You can watch video and you prepare, but you have to know what you’re doing in the neutral zone. You can’t give a guy, their best player, a break like that. That was a punch in the guy when you come out and you work on.”

4. What didn’t help the Islanders either was their lack of offense. It’s not too often that teams hold the Islanders to one goal in a game — in fact, they had been held to one or no goals just three times this season entering the game — so the fact that it happened on Saturday is rather surprising. The Islanders were quick to credit the Bruins for playing a “good defensive game.” The Islanders finished the game with 31 shots on net, but the Bruins did a good job of getting in the shooting lanes and blocking shots. In the end, Boston blocked 21 shots in the game.

“There wasn’t a lot of Grade-A’s,” Anders Lee said. “We didn’t have a lot of break-ins or two-on-ones or three-on-twos. Credit to their sticks. That’s what frustrated us tonight and for sure sometimes we could have made a better play, but it’s a fast game… Tonight we didn’t make much stuff happen.”

5. Saturday night’s loss may have been one of the chippiest games the Islanders have played this year. Beginning with the Casey Cizikas hit on Charlie McAvoy and escalating from there. The Cizikas hit appeared to be clean but still resulted in Jake Debrusk looking for some payback. The fight that followed was only Cizikas’ second fight in the NHL — you have to go back to February 25, 2016 for his first one — and just his third at the pro level.

“He stood up for his teammate there and you have to tip your cap off to him,” Cizikas said.

6. Cizikas understood DeBrusk standing up for his teammate, but the Islanders weren’t overly thrilled about some of the other stuff that happened, specifically the Brad Marchand hit on John Tavares early in the third period. Marchand hit Tavares up high after he had lost the puck, which sent Tavares to the ice and his teammates in to immediately defend him. Later in the period David Backes headbutted Andrew Ladd.

“I think it was a couple of stupid plays on their part,” Ladd said. “The first one, (Tavares), I don’t know if (Marchand) clipped him early on in the shift. They got tangled up early on in the shift and you could clearly tell that Marchand was going to get Johnny back. And he’s not tall enough to hit Johnny in the head. It wasn’t a clean hit.”

 

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