Islanders-Bruins: Measuring Up With the Champs - For Two Periods At Least
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
By Stan Fischler
In a week and a half the Bruins will formally begin their defense of the Stanley Cup. Right now Claude Julien’s skaters are tuning up the Big Bad Boston Machine for two straight titles. Maybe they’ll get the silverware again, maybe they won’t.
On Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum, the suddenly hot Islanders took on the Champs in an attempt to show how they measure up. Well, it didn’t quite materialize the way they had hoped.
Winners of five of their last six before the Beantowners came to town, the Isles, for the seventh straight time this season, had the opportunity to go over the .500 mark. They now are oh-for-seven.
For two periods, the Nassaumen kept Boston at bay but in the end, the Champs opened the goal gates in the final frame for a 6-3 victory.
“The third period wasn’t our best,” said John Tavares. “We didn’t make good puck decisions and we didn’t bear down.”
Jack Capuano lamented the fact that the Tavares line – with Matt Moulson and P.A. Parenteau – really didn’t get started until the third period.
“We played the defending champions,” explained Cappy, “and they were just too strong in the third period.”
The Bruins nearly opened the scoring early in the first period when Chris Kelly snapped a shot after driving into the slot. But the puck rang harmlessly off the right post.
The teams evenly exchanged hits and misses through most of the first period until the Bruins broke the schneid at 18:11.
Boston’s crack-forward David Krejci wristed a shot off the same post and this time the puck caromed into the cage to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
The play began when Milan Lucic stole the puck from Marty Reasoner in the corner. The bruising forward then found Krecji in front of the goal, delivered the biscuit and David made no bones about it, notching his 22nd of the season.
Less than a minute later, Frans Nielsen dipsy-doodled through Boston’s forecheckers until he found Kyle Okposo streaking through the slot on the rush. Okposo blasted a shot over Marty Turco’s left shoulder from 30 feet to tie the contest.
The teams entered the second period tied at one and so far Boston got everything it gave, including punches.
Micheal Haley and Gregory Campbell brought the crowd to its feet when they dropped the gloves just under three minutes into the second period. In the end, the even bout had no effect on the outcome.
It was the Bruins who seized the momentum after the spirited fight, thanks to a costly Islanders turnover.
The trouble started when Kelly intercepted defenseman Andy MacDonald’s clearing attempt at the blue line. The Bruins forward skated goalward before snapping the puck over Montoya’s left shoulder to give Boston a 2-1 lead at 4:58.
Once again the Isles retaliated, knotting the count on a world-class assist by Tavares.
The gifted center gathered the puck at the right circle, held off the defense and spun to slide a pass towards the crease. Parenteau then found the puck on his tape in front of the gaping net to convert the easy tap-in.
Brad Marchand recaptured the lead for Boston with his 27th goal of the year.
The play began when Tyler Seguin skated along the right boards before executing a pinpoint pass to Marchand in the slot.
Marchand then maneuvered past defenseman Dylan Reese and shot the puck through Montoya’s five-hole at 3:13.
Seguin added to the lead with his 27th tally at 10:37.
Patrice Bergeron flew into the Isles zone and dished to Seguin coming down the left wing. Seguin did the rest, firing a shot over Montoya’s glove.
Parenteau provided another response.
Working against three Bruins along the corner boards, Tavares backhanded a pass to Moulson out in front.
Moulson found Parenteau charging the net and P.A. guided the puck past Turco for his second goal of the game at 14:53.
With 18 goals on the season and free agency ahead, Parenteau has become a sought-after player. When asked about his future plans, P.A. simply said, “I’m going to play hard until the end of the season and then see how things go.”
That was the last thing Islanders fans had to cheer about as the Bruins bombarded the Isles’ goal and quickly put the game out of reach with two more goals.
“Boston made fantastic offensive plays,” explained Parenteau. “We just ran out of gas.”
The speedy Seguin stormed in on Montoya, pushing the puck off the goalie’s left pad. Bergeron buried the rebound for a 5-3 Boston lead just over a minute later.
Krejci added his second for the Bruins 24 seconds after that.
The Isles have an opportunity to get back on the winning side Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. for what will be a very meaningful game for the Senators.
“We want to play our best no matter who the opposition is,” concluded Tavares. “There is a matter of pride involved and we don’t like losing.”
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