Tonight (Thursday), is the night the Bruins will try and get back on their game plan, control the puck, tighten up their defense, power up the power play, and either stay away from penalties, or kill them more effectively. It all sounds so easy, but against a strong team like the New York Islanders, there is little room for error. Proof of that was evident in Game 1; lack of puck management proved to be their downfall in Game 2. Boston’s play in Game One against the New York Islanders to begin Round Two, might’ve given Boston fans a comfortable feeling, as the Bruins earned a somewhat easy 5-2 victory with very solid play. But, the bounce back play of the Islanders in Game Two made those thoughts of comfort quickly disappear. The Bruins’ quick start in Game Two’s first period allowed them to maintain a bit of that confidence, with Charlie Coyle’s quick strike and a 1-0 lead to start the game. But equally depressing was Boston’s play in the second period where they lacked puck management, lacked discipline, an ineffective penalty kill, and the inability to finish off scoring chances. The resiliency the Bs showed in the third period of Game 2, gave an indication of hope with two goals off the sticks of first, captain Patrice Bergeron to cut the deficit to one goal, and then the power play goal by Brad “Clutch” Marchand to tie the game 3-3.
Buoyed by their comeback, the Bruins continued to storm Islanders net and goaltender Semyon Varlamov in the overtime, only to be stopped time after time. Victory came for New York when Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon’s ‘ill-advised’ pass along the blue line, hit Coyle’s skate and skimmed into the neutral zone. Casey Cizikas retrieved the loose puck and was off on a breakaway, finishing up by blasting a shot past Tuukka Rask for the victory. The lack of puck management in the second period allowed the Islanders to spend far too much time in the Boston end, and it cost the Bruins dearly, as New York potted three goals, including two power play strikes to give them a 3-1 lead after two periods.
Milestones earned for the Bs, had Bergeron notching his 100th playoff point, Rask appeared in his 100th playoff game, and coach Bruce Cassidy will be looking forward to his next playoff win, which will move him ahead of Art Ross (32) for Boston’s all-time playoff wins by a coach. Game 3 will be played tonight (Thursday, 7:30pm) at Nassau Coliseum, as the Islanders host the Bruins for games 3, and 4. Game 4 will take place on Saturday, 7:15pm). Game 5 is set for TD Garden on Monday (June 7). If a Game 6 is necessary, it is scheduled for Wednesday (June 9) at Long Island, and also, if necessary, Game 7 is set for Friday (June 11) on TD Garden ice.
Ice shavings: The NHL Department of Player Safety assessed Jake DeBrusk a $5,000 fine for his cross-check of Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield in the third period of Game 2. For those curious about where the money goes, it is fed into the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Guess you could say at least the money went to a good cause! Finally, the Bruins’ injury report continues to be a factor, second line winger Craig Smith missed Game 2 with a lower body injury, practiced yesterday (Wednesday), and will likely be a game day decision. Also missing from the roster was solid defenseman Kevan Miller, whom Coach Cassidy said is not ready yet. Question marks remain about the health of Tuukka Rask, who has showed some signs of pain endurance, especially during New York’s storming of the Boston net in Game 2’s second period barrage, but Rask continued in the game, providing solid goaltending the rest of the way. At Wednesday’s press conference, Cassidy stated that Tuukka will be in net Thursday, as he has been ready to go every playoff game, and expects him to continue. The extra day of rest will certainly be beneficial for all the Boston players.