Watching the Boston Bruins play on New Year’s Eve against the New York Islanders, it was clear that communication is essential with the Bruins. The first period looked like the Bruins that everyone knows and expects, despite the absence of Dennis Seidenberg who will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL/MCL. The Bruins got off to a quick start, making it 1-0 as they went into the first intermission. And given that the New York Islanders are last in the Metropolitan Division, it was expected that the Bruins would be able to capitalize in the game often.
However, when the teams returned to the ice for the second period, it was evident that the New York Islanders were not going down easily. They pressed on, giving the Bruins a run for their money. They capitalized on a penalty called to Matt Bartkowski for holding, tying the game just six minutes into the second period. Fan faithful who were celebrating their New Year’s Eve with the Bruins at TD Garden would be rewarded when Patrice Bergeron got a power play goal at 12:33 of the second period, and the roof was practically raised when Daniel Paille made it 3-1 just 25 seconds after Bergeron’s goal.
Unfortunately, the Bruins would go from being up by two goals to seeing the game tied by the end of the second period, as first Torey Krug took a boarding penalty at 16:05, which Islanders Frans Nielsen used to get his second past Tuukka Rask just 25 seconds into the Islanders power play. And, though the Bruins were able to kill off a second penalty given to Milan Lucic for cross-checking just eight seconds after the Islanders had scored their second goal of the game, they were not able to do the same when Rask was called for a delay of game penalty at 19:19, as Kyle Okposo got it past the Bruins net minder with just three seconds remaining in the second–a continuing issue with this season’s Bruins team; giving up goals with seconds remaining in a period.
As the third period got underway, John Tavares took away whatever wind the Bruins may have had left in their sails when he scored an even strength goal just 32 seconds into the period. Things would stand at 4-3 in favor of the Islanders for the next ten minutes or so, with the Bruins continuing to struggle with their communications on the ice. Somehow they couldn’t find their line makes to make good passes and they were consistently out of position. Even Rask was having difficulties staying in position throughout this game–something that is seldom seen from him.
As the third period progressed, the Bruins struggles became even more evident and with the struggling in communication came the boiling over of frustrations. At 12:48, Brad Marchand was called for a double minor for roughing, once again putting the Bruins on the penalty kill, which they were only 2-5 on the evening. And just 29 seconds into that penalty, Tavares scored his second on the night bringing the score to 5-3 in favor of the Islanders, with 6:43 remaining in the game.
At just under four minutes remaining in the game, Lucic was called for boarding–a penalty that he took exception to, letting the referees know. Unfortunately for the Bruins, his vocal opposition to the referees resulted in an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a game misconduct. This put the Bruins down a man for the remainder of the game.
When asked about the game afterwards, to a man, the Bruins took the loss as a team. In fact every one who was available after the game took ownership for the lack of good playing, especially when it came to their penalty killing. As head coach Claude Julien said, “It was sloppy.”
This was their second loss in a row, having lost to the Ottawa Senators in the second of the home and home series with them on Friday and Saturday. It stings, but as David Krejci–who earned his 100th NHL career goal in Tuesday’s game–said, “Obviously it’s disappointing but we have to regroup and move on and we have our next game in a couple days so we have to be better.”
When asked if he expected this game to be forgotten, he responded that there was no choice.
“It has to, we have no other choice. We have to have a good practice [Wednesday] and come out from first to the last minute on Thursday.”
Expect to see a more unified, communicating and disciplined Boston Bruins when they host the Nashville Predators Thursday night.