Monday, November 7, 2011
Rapid reaction: Bruins 6, Islanders 2
By Joe McDonald
BOSTON -- It was a bottom-of-the-barrel matchup between the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders on Monday night at TD Garden, in a battle to escape the last spot in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams were coming off impressive victories over the weekend, with the Bruins beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-0 while the Islanders defeated the Washington Capitals, 5-3.
Both Boston and New York were feeling good before Monday’s game but it was the Bruins who skated away with an impressive 6-2 victory to extend their season-long winning streak to three games.
The Bruins’ Nathan Horton scored twice, while teammates Benoit Pouliot, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and David Krejci (empty net) contributed a goal each in the win. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask earned his first victory of the season with 24 saves.
Boston held a one-goal lead at the start of the third period until Lucic and Horton scored 49 seconds apart at 4:34 and 5:23, respectively, to grab a 5-2 advantage before Krejci chipped in the empty-netter at 17:12.
SCARY MOMENT: Early in the third period, Islanders defenseman Steve Staios took a slap shot from the right point and the puck hit Bruins forward Daniel Paille in the face. He fell to the ice and was quickly tended to by team trainers and doctors just inside the blue line near the Boston bench. After a couple of minutes he was able to skate off on his own and went directly to the locker room, holding a towel over his face.
SEGUIN’S TRICKY: Seguin, who collected his first career NHL hat trick against the Maple Leafs on Saturday in Toronto, could have easily made it two three-goal games in a row with the quality chances he was getting against the Islanders. Time and again the 19-year-old forward was in the right spot at the right time, but found himself snakebitten more than once. There’s no question he’s having a breakout season and that line of Seguin, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have found their chemistry. Seguin has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points in 13 games this season, along with a plus-11 rating.
PO-PO-POULIOT: With Rich Peverley out of the lineup because of a minor undisclosed injury, Pouliot was inserted into the lineup after missing the last three games due to illness. His tally at 1:32 of the first period was his first as a Bruin, and first goal since Feb. 15, 2011 (span of 32 games) while he was with the Montreal Canadiens. Bruins linemate Jordan Caron did a solid job collecting the puck in the corner and quickly moving it to the front of the Islanders net where New York goalie Evgeni Nabokov made the initial stop. Pouliot was positioned in front and knocked in the loose puck to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
DROPPING THE MITTS: Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid has proven in the past that he’s more than willing to drop the gloves if needed. That was the case Monday night after Boston gained an early 1-0 lead. On the ensuing faceoff after Pouliot’s goal, McQuaid and the Islanders’ Matt Martin went toe-to-toe in a spirited bout. After serving five for fighting, McQuaid needed to go to the locker room for repairs before returning to the ice in the closing minutes of the first period.
POWER PLAY: This special-teams unit was a thorn in the Bruins’ side last season but already it is showing signs of consistency, especially of late. Boston capitalized on its first power play of the game against the Islanders when Horton scored at 13:38 of the first period. The Bruins have now scored power-play goals in three straight games. Overall they’re 7-for-39 on the PP this season.
KELLY REACHES MILESTONE: Bruins forward Chris Kelly played in his 500th career NHL game Monday night. The 30-year-old centerman is in his first full season in Boston after the organization acquired him on Feb. 15, 2011 from the Ottawa Senators.
From the first time he put on a black-and-gold sweater, Kelly has fit in well with the Bruins. He was a significant component and made major contributions to help Boston hoist the Stanley Cup last spring. He’s such an important part of the Bruins that Julien decided at the start of the season that Kelly would share the alternate captain status with teammate Andrew Ference. Kelly wears the ‘A’ on the road, while Ference has the letter during home games.
Following the team’s morning skate on Monday, Julien was asked to describe Kelly’s importance to the team.
“Consistency is one of them. Leadership is another one,” the coach said. “I think his hockey sense is great. He reads plays well. He adapts well as far as whether you want him to play a really solid defensive role or you need him to give you a little more offense. He’s capable to do both so he’s a versatile player who can play center or wing. He’s wearing an ‘A’ because he’s a good leader and also a very well-respected teammate. So he’s got a lot of qualities that when we got him we knew about so all he did was reinforce all those things we heard about.”
Kelly has missed only nine games over the last six-plus seasons in the league.
UP NEXT: The Bruins are in the midst of a five-game homestand, which began with Monday’s victory over the Islanders. The Bruins will host the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday, then the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. The New Jersey Devils come to town on Nov. 15 before the Bruins conclude the string of games on home ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 17. Boston then heads out on the road for three games against the Islanders, Canadiens and Sabres before returning on Black Friday to host the Detroit Red Wings in a 1 p.m. matinee.