The Boston Bruins wrapped up their 5 game February roadtrip in Long Island on Tuesday evening. After rolling off of back to back wins in Florida against the Lightning and Panthers; the Bruins looked to collect another “W” for the stat sheet.
With Rask in net for Boston it certainly didn’t give the Finnish goaltender a break heading into the upcoming 3-in-4 weekend. Boston will face games against the Senators (Thursday), Lightning (Saturday) and original six rival Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. While the upcoming schedule looks daunting to the average fan, some players have a different perspective.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” said Bruins forward Chris Bourque. “You’ve got to take care of your body, make sure you drink a lot of fluids, and there’s going to be a lot of hockey games to play here, so you’ve just got to try and stay healthy and just play consistent hockey and come to the rink and work hard everyday.”
March will certainly be a month to gauge stamina as Boston hits the ice for games almost every other night.
Games against the Islanders are usually hit or miss, with plenty of fans visiting Long Island, due to the close proximity. The last game between the teams resulted in a 4-2 win for Boston back on January 25th.
Skating to an offensive rhythm, the Bruins began the first period with consistent pressure on Islanders netminder Evengi Nabakov. Consistency paid off as defencemen Adam McQuaid found the back of the net at 6:43 for his first goal of the season.
“I just shot,” said McQuaid. “And luckily it went it.”
Rask continued to remain composed in net and yet again came up big for Boston during the first period, most notably stopping Islanders Michael Grabner on a breakaway. The offensive push came to a close and the Islanders Casey Cizikas made it 1-1 at 15:49 with an unassisted goal.
38 seconds, that’s all it took for Bruins leading goal scorer Brad Marchand to snipe his 10th of the season, giving Boston a 2-1 lead to start the second period. An apparently absent Islanders team in the starting minutes of the period, led David Krejci straight to the net for his 5th goal and a 3-1 lead for Boston at 5:16.
The third period went almost scoreless between the two teams, until Gregory Campbell sealed the Islanders fate by scoring on an empty net his 2nd of the season; giving Boston a 4-1 win.
“Obviously you want to finish on a strong note, it’s good to get the win,” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. “Although I don’t think we were at our best today.”
Despite feeling that the team wasn’t skating at their best, Rask made 36 saves – his highest of the season.
Coming off of a near perfect January and a similar February thus far, the Bruins already have a good start to the season and remain high in the standings.
“When we look at the standings and realize how many games behind we are, we try to stay with that pack,” said forward Daniel Paille. “We’re satisfied so far, but knowing that there’s a long way to go, and for us we’ve got to try to win those games that they’re behind and try to keep moving forward.”
Perhaps that attitude will lend a stick to the Bruins continuing success as the season becomes all the more grueling. As of now, Boston is certainly showcasing their abilities as a cup contender in the east.