The Boston Bruins suffered a tough loss to the New York Islanders in Game 2 tonight, losing by a final score of 4-3. The Bruins trailed by two goals with 10 minutes left in the third period, by rallied back to force overtime on their home ice. Unfortunately, it was the Islanders who came away victorious tonight, and they now have home ice advantage over the remaining five games in this series.
The Bruins certainly got off on the right foot in this one, as Charlie Coyle potted a delicious opening goal just 2:38 into the game. Coyle had some fantastic backhanded handles to get by his defender and around the goalie before calmly putting it in the back of a wide open net. The Bruins would go on the power play shortly afterwards, and could have put the Isles in a quick deficit, but failed to capitalize. Although the Bruins controlled the play of the first period, they allowed New York to stay alive, which proved to be a big mistake come the second period.
The Islanders slowly worked their way back into the proceedings, before a goalie interference penalty from David Pastrnak sent the Isles to the power play, which they quickly converted. Josh Bailey tried to make a cross ice pass in front of the mouth of the goal, but it inadvertently hit off Jeremy Lauzon’s leg, and deflected right between Tuukka Rask’s five hole. That gave New York the momentum to continue an aggressive push in the Bruins zone, which resulted in New York taking the lead soon thereafter. Kyle Palmieri picked up a wide shot that went behind the net, and Rask couldn’t find the puck, allowing Palmieri to push it past Rask into the net. The Islanders would go back on the power play late in the period, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau finished off a beautiful passing play to put New York up 3-1 heading into the third period.
The Bruins were tasked with coming back from a two goal deficit, and it seemed pretty improbable after a slow start to the period. But the B’s quickly picked up their aggression and were able to keep the puck in New York’s zone, which eventually led to Patrice Bergeron cutting the deficit in half with his patented one time shot from in between the circles. The Bruins kept up the pressure, and ended up on the power play, which Brad Marchand quickly turned into a game-tying goal less than 30 seconds later. It seemed like the Bruins had the momentum to finish off the Isles in regulation time, but Mike Reilly picked up an ill-timed penalty, forcing Boston to the kill, which they employed with success for the first time this game, sending it to overtime.
The overtime was certainly intense, with both teams spending long periods of time in the others zone, which led to a ton of chances on both ends of the ice. It ended up being Casey Cizikas who got the winner for the Islanders however, knotting this series up at 1 apiece. Lauzon tried to make pass across the Islanders blue line that inadvertently deflected off of a Bruins skate, bouncing into the neutral zone, and creating a one-on-one opportunity for Cizikas that he buried in the top left corner. After rallying back in the third period, this is a loss that will certainly sting for awhile.
The Bruins controlled play for long portions of the game, but a really tough second period led to their downfall. The Islanders forecheck was more aggressive, and the Bruins had no answers in getting the puck out of their own zone. Once they figured things back out in the third period, the Bruins dominated the Isles and quickly picked up two goals to tie things up. When the Bruins can’t get the puck out of their own zone, it kills all the other aspects of their game. You can’t score if the puck is in your zone, and that was the main issue the Bruins dealt with tonight.
Boston also was dealt with some bad luck in this one. Lauzon saw a goal go off his ankle and a pass take an unfortunate bounce, directly leading to two goals for New York. The other two goals, particularly Palmieri’s goal, weren’t great looks for Rask, but he did his part in keeping Boston alive when New York was pushing for a fourth goal late in the second period. Sure unlucky bounces will happen and they shouldn’t be used as excuses, but if that is what New York needs to beat Boston in this series, then they should still feel pretty good about their chances of coming out on top of this series. The Bruins will have two days to rest and recover before this series shifts to New York, and they will look to come prepared to take back the lead of this series once Game 3 is over with.