The Boston Bruins dropped to 0-3-2 against the New York Islanders this season after they dropped a hard fought battle in overtime Thursday night at the TD Garden. The game marked the first time fans were allowed back in the Garden in over a year, and you could sense the excitement from both the fans and players in this one. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first period behind goals scored by Karson Kuhlman and Steven Kampfer, the Bruins looked as if they were starting to figure out a way to win against the Isles.
The Islanders would receive a double minor early in the second period, giving the Bruins a golden opportunity to pull away with a 3-0 lead. The power play units were unable to capitalize however, and 7 minutes into the period the Islanders cut the deficit in half with a goal from J.G. Pageau. The Islanders would complete the comeback and go up 3-2 on the Bruins late in the third. The Bruins weren’t gonna go down easily though, as Anders Bjork tied the game less than a minute after the Islanders go-ahead goal off of a nice feed from Charlie Coyle. The Islanders would eventually take the game in overtime, defeating Boston for the 5th time this season. To make matters even worse, Tuukka Rask left the game after making 6 saves in the first period due to an undisclosed injury. It was his first game back after missing a couple weeks with an upper body injury, so him being forced out of the contest early on isn’t a good sign.
As disappointing as it is to see the Bruins keep losing to the New York Islanders, there were some positives from their game on Thursday. The offense was bolstered by depth scoring which is good to see from a team with notoriously inconsistent offense after their top line. Steven Kampfer played his best game of the season, scoring a goal and creating opportunities all night. Anders Bjork also scored a big goal, which hopefully gives him some more confidence. He has been a solid presence all season on offense, he just hasn’t tallied as many points as he probably was hoping.
Saturday afternoon, the Bruins scraped away a win in a far too close game against the Buffalo Sabres. Heading into the Saturday matinee, the Sabres had lost 16 straight games, and were looking to avenge their previous loss to the B’s which occurred just over a week ago when the Bruins defeated them 4-1.
The Sabres jumped out to an early lead, with a goal scored off of a mishap by goaltender Dan Vladar. The teams would then trade goals in the second period, and the Sabres took a 2-1 lead into the third. The Bruins clearly didn’t want to be the team to give the Sabres their first win in over a month though. They came out firing in the third, outshooting the Sabres 15-3 in the period. Goals from Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith gave the Bruins their first win in front of the fans at the Garden.
There is no such thing as an easy win in the NHL, and credit to the Bruins for realizing that before it was too late. Although there wasn’t really a time in the game where the Bruins were being dominated by the Sabres, they didn’t seem to be in the groove of the game for the better part of the first two periods. The miscommunication between Vladar and the defense which led to the Sabres first goal was a prime example of this, as the Bruins seemed slow coming out of the gate.
On a positive note, the offense was once again held up by depth scoring and the Bruins won because of it. With Brad Marchand out of the lineup, the Bruins needed scoring from outside the first line and they got it from Matt Grzelcyk, Nick Ritchie, and Craig Smith.
The Bruins will stay at home for a two game set against the New Jersey Devils starting Sunday evening at 5:30.
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