Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Game 16: Bruins Finish Road Trip Strong

The Boston Bruins were right back in action on Tuesday against the New York Islanders. This was the final game of their five-game road trip.

Before the Bruins can think about heading back home, they needed to take care of a team that can easily be overlooked. Their record may not show it (8-10-1, 2-7-0 at home), but they have some skilled players that can give any team trouble.

In fact, those players do most of their damage on the power play. The Islanders rank in the top five in the league with the man advantage. On the other hand, the Bruins have killed 21 straight penalties heading into this game. Special teams is important to both teams, but they thrive on different aspects of it when five-on-five play does not exist. 

Tuukka Rask was back between the pipes for the B's. He opposed Evgeni Nabokov of the Isles. There were no additional lineup changes for the Bruins in this game. 

Boston came out firing in the opening period. The energy generated by the Bruins completely favored their style of play and the Islanders were not ready for it. Their dominance led to the first goal of the game scored by Adam McQuaid on a simple slap shot. Tyler Seguin recorded an assist on McQuaid's goal, which was his 100th career NHL point. 

As the period went on, the Isles started to take control of the face-off dot. From there, they started to dump the puck in and get more scoring chances. Rask came up with some key stops, but the Islanders broke through on a goal scored by Casey Cizikas on a fast break up ice. 

In the second period, the B's really started to take over. They were able to add to their lead when Brad Marchand and David Krejci each scored a goal that resulted from great passing in the neutral zone. The only pressure that the Islanders had were their scoring chances on the power play. However, the Bruins, led by Rask, showed exactly why they have the best penalty killing unit in the NHL.

New York took over the third period with its strong net drives and several scoring chances. This flurry was to be expected as the Bruins looked a little tired as the game drew to a close. This was evident when they started to get careless with the puck. In the end, the B's withstood the rushes by the Islanders and they hung on to win this game with a final score of 4-1. Gregory Campbell added an empty-net goal to seal it up.

The Bruins will play their next game on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators at the TD Garden.

Gold Star: Tuukka Rask (36 saves on 37 shots, 1 goal allowed, .973 save percentage)...Sometimes your goaltender has to be your best player. In a game where 10 different players had at least one point, solid goaltending was the icing on the cake.

Black Star: Chris Bourque...This experiment has to end as soon as possible. He was careless with the puck and he was useless on the power play. You have to wonder if the Bruins are just showing respect to Raymond Bourque by inserting him into the lineup. 

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