(Photo: Alan Sullivan)
After the impressive effort that the Boston Bruins had from a full 60 minutes in Sunday’s matinee against the Los Angeles Kings, it was expected that they would bring a similar momentum into Tuesday’s game hosting the New York Islanders. It was anything but, with the end result a 4-2 loss and the replacing of Tuukka Rask between the pipes in the middle of the second period.
The lackluster start was compounded by a series of miscommunications and one Keystone Cop moment between Rask and Brad Marchand behind the Bruins net just over three minutes into the game. It might have been funny if it hadn’t resulted in Anders Lee putting the Islanders up 1-0 as a result.
The Islanders sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and coming into Tuesday night’s game they were on a five-game skid, so they really had nothing to lose in putting it all out there. And not to take away from their win, but the first two goals were the result of big mistakes on the part of the Bruins.
“The goals they got were basically from our plays and mistakes we made. Miscommunication on the first one. The second one, same thing—kind of misjudged plays and not being there for support and not communicating,” said Bruins assistant captain Patrice Bergeron after the loss.
Though hockey is certainly a game of mistakes, these were not just small gaffes, but major missteps. Adding in the slower pace of their skating, and countless turnovers, and it should not be surprising that going into the third period Boston found themselves in a deep three goal hole.
The third period was as if a totally different team came out of the home team’s locker room. It’s almost as though the Bruins had to get to that point in the game and the score to realize what was at stake, which is not the best way to play a game.
“It’s really simple—going back to playing your game and being ready from the drop of the puck. We talked about this last stretch before the break. It was three games, now it’s two, but it was three games that we wanted to get those points from and we needed to do the job and we didn’t do that tonight. We didn’t show up for the first two periods and we paid for it.”
Despite having outshot the Islanders by seven shots between those first two periods, the struggle to finish was ever present, as it has been in other games this season. There seemed to never be someone in the dirty areas around the net to put home a rebound. And while the Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss was good, he offered a number of rebounds that should have found their way in the back of the net off a Bruins stick. In the third period, the ramped up Boston put 23 shots on net and managed to get two goals. By the end of the game, Greiss had seen 50 shots and stopped 48.
If there was one bright moment for the Boston fans, it would be the chance to welcome Dennis Seidenberg back and applaud him after the Bruins showed a video tribute on the Jumbotron. And while they don’t normally play on the same pairing, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano started he and Johnny Boychuk as his defense pairing in the game, and it stuck.
“Yeah, you know what, once we started them we just put them together there for a little while and as [the] game went on they went the whole game,” Capuano shared post game. “But for the most part, you know it’s emotional when those guys come back and even Johnny [Boychuk] has been with us for a couple of years, so anytime you come back here, you want to play well. It was great for Seidenberg, you know seven years here and a Stanley Cup, you know his fans really appreciate him.”
For Seidenberg, as with others of that fabled 2011 Stanley Cup-winning team who have returned, the video tribute stirred some memories.
“Well, I just… I guess a lot of emotions I guess,” Seidenberg said about the video. “A lot of good memories and it was a nice video and gesture of them.”
Likewise, the pre-game rushes had not indicated that Seidenberg and Boychuk would be paired during the game. As alluded to by Capuano, it was intended to be just at the beginning of the game.
“It was kind of a surprise that we got paired up, we were talking about different pairs,” Seidenberg commented. “We didn’t know that it was going to happen, but, I mean, it was good.”
And for the Islanders the entire evening was good. For the Bruins, it is back on the road for two more games before the holiday break—first against the Florida Panthers on Thursday and then in Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes. They have been consistently better on the road this year, so perhaps they will garner the much needed four points from these two tilts.