The Islanders played their first of seven back-to-back games, as they took on the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden last night.
This one marked Rick DiPietro’s first NHL game in over 400 days, but the New York Islanders fell to Boston by the score of 4-2. Two third period goals sunk the Isles, who stood toe-to-toe with the Bruins through the first two periods.
Boston came into this game with points in all three of their games this year, while the Islanders came into this one with wins in their last two games.
The Islanders fell behind early, as Shawn Thornton beat Rick DiPietro off of a Dougie Hamilton rebound. The Bruins first goal marked the sixth time in DiPietro’s last eight starts that he has allowed a goal within the first 7:08 of play, according to Eric Hornick.
Of course, Rick has been slow to start his games during the past two seasons, and for obvious reasons. He has been off the ice more than he has been on it throughout the last several years, but I have to say, Rick seemed to play OK last night. This goal was hard to pin on him, and Rick finally looked like a goalie that was just rusty, rather than a goalie that was oft-injured.
After the first goal, Milan Lucic and Matt Carkner would drop the gloves, and Lucic would win by TKO. Milan landed a hard punch to Carkner, who was dropped in the process. It was still reassuring to see the Islanders play with willing combatants because toughness was lacking last season.
Anyways, Keith Aucoin would tie the game at one less than seven minutes later. Yes, “Garth’s garbage” scored for the second straight game, and was assisted by “another player who shouldn’t be on this team” aka Colin McDonald and David Ullstrom.
Matt Martin would drop the gloves with Daniel Paille towards the end of the period, only to have Shawn Thornton jump in to take Paille’s place. Some how, the Islanders would end up on the penalty-kill, but would hold the Bruins off the scoresheet to end the period with the score of 1-1.
The second period would see the Islanders score first. Keith Aucoin would give the Islanders the lead with a wicked slap-shot from the top of the circle. He blasted the puck past Tuukka Rask, giving Keith his third goal of the season, and second in front of his family and friends in the Boston area.
A few minutes later, David Krejci would fire the puck from the top of the circle, but Joe Finley would get credit for a blocked shot. Unfortunately, the blocked shot was delivered as a soft pass to Gregory Campbell, who was standing three feet away from Finley. Campbell scored before DiPietro even had a chance to react.
The period would end 2-2.
It was impressive that the Islanders went into the third tied at two with the Boston Bruins. A lot of us predicted that the Bruins would manhandle the Islanders with DiPietro in net. In order to win this, the Islanders wold have to pull together a full 60-minute effort. Unfortunately, the Islanders just ran out of gas in the third.
The Islanders were on their heel for a good part of the third period’s first half. Inevitably, Zdeno Chara ripped a shot past a screened DiPietro to give the Bruins the lead for good. Bergeron would add to the lead on a breakaway off of a defensive breakdown, and that would lead us to the final score of 4-2.
Overall, the Islanders played a good game, but as Capuano stated in the post-game, there were no moral victories. The Islanders matched up against the Bruins, and disappeared in the third period.
Rick DiPietro, who was certainly not at fault for this one, made a few saves to keep the Islanders in this game, and it was more than many of us expected from the Islanders former star.
Notes and Observations:
-The Bruins and Islanders were the only two teams with 100% penalty-kill going into this one. Both teams escaped without allowing a power-play goal.
-Kyle Okposo looks lost on the first line. Personally, I think he looked best on the third line last season, and I think his style of play leans towards a two-way forward. The Islanders have plenty of solid bottom-six calibre guys. They need a true second-line.
-Marty Reasoner isn’t a burden this season, but he is a non-factor.
-Brian Strait is a real NHL defenseman. He’s steady in his own zone, and moves the puck up ice. You won’t hear his name a lot, but that’s a very good thing.
-Joe Finley is just too slow. I know that I haven’t been against him, but he isn’t playing physical enough for him to justify his spot on the roster. He plays too slow, and that giveaway on that second goal was clumsy at best. Still, I understand why he’s getting ice time. The Islanders see potential there with his size, and want to see what they have before they place him on waivers, which would he most definitely be claimed.
-John Tavares seems to be pressing. He’s trying to do too much on his line. I hate to call out our best player, but we need to see more from John Tavares.
-Is it just me, or does it seem like Jack Capuano is adapting? His decisions may not be the greatest, but I like that he’s holding players accountable this year. Maybe he no longer sees them as kids anymore. It kind of reminds me of that move ‘Bad Teacher’, when Cameron Diaz kind of changes overnight. Funny movie, but terrible reference.
-Colin McDonald with 7 hits and an assist. He wants to stay in the NHL.
-Matt Martin with 5 hits.
-Casey Cizikas had a breakaway out of the penalty box, but failed to hit the net. John Tavares really knows how to find guys coming out of the box.
-Mark Streit was a -3 last night. Evidently, he couldn’t clear David Krejci from the front of the net, which led to the game-winning goal.
-It was hard to pin any of the goals as solely the fault of Rick DiPietro.
-Scary when DiPietro just laid there in the first, though. Sprawled on the ice as play was moving around the zone, it just seemed like Rick didn’t feel like getting up. What was going on there?
The Islanders played well last night. They may have lost, and ran out of gas, but they’re showing they can play with some of the better teams. So far, they have shown a lot of character this season, which has been great to watch for the Islanders.
This road trip is huge. A win in Winnipeg tomorrow night would be huge for this team. It would show they could win games on the road after losing. The failure to do so the past two seasons has sunk this team. This team needs to show fortitude against the Jets in a playoff-like atmosphere.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to comment.
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants