Bruins sink Islanders, 4-2


Bruins sink Islanders, 4-2

BOSTON -- It came down to the third period, but Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron's third-period goals helped the Bruins defeat the New York Islanders 4-2 on Friday night at the TD Garden.

Chara gave the Bruins a 3-2 lead just over seven minutes into the third period, after he sniped the top-left corner with a wrist shot from the left point.

Then, with 6:27 left in the game, Bergeron steps in on a breakaway and finishes with a deke to his right, slipping the puck past the extended left pad of Rick DiPietro, making it 4-2 B's. Bergeron finished a perfect breakout that started with a Dougie Hamilton cross-ice pass to Brad Marchand, who then found Bergeron wide open streaking down the middle of the ice.

The goal marked Hamilton's second assist of the game, and sealed the deal on Boston's third win of the season.

The Bruins tied the game at 2-2 with 6:18 left in the second period, after Greg Campbell knocked in a loose puck that had bounced out to him off the skate of Islanders defenseman Joe Finley. David Krejci caused the loose puck after throwing it towards the net from the top of the left circle. The puck never got to the net, and Campbell finished.

The Islanders scored two goals -- both by Keith Aucoin after Shawn Thornton had initially given the Bruins an early 1-0 lead, five minutes into the first period.

The first New York goal came with 8:47 left in the first period, as Aucoin busted down the middle of the ice and caught a pass in the slot from Colin McDonald. Aucoin caught pretty much all of the Bruins sleeping and flat-footed, and Aucoin beat everyone to open space and buried a one-timer to tie the game at 1-1.

Aucoin's second gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. In similar fashion, Aucoin got a puck in open space and beat Tuukka Rask. Only this time, he was able to step into this slap shot and let go a rocket that beat Rask top-right.

GOLD STAR: The fourth line gets the nod as well a fourth line Fribble courtesy of Mike Felger after helping prop up the Bruins with a pair of goals in the first two periods while the rest of the team was out of synch according to Claude Julien. Shawn Thornton picked up his first strike of the season while shoveling in a backhanded rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot, and Gregory Campbell flipped home another rebound after a David Krejci tester bounced off Joe Finleys skate right to the fourth line center. They also brought the thunder as displayed by Daniel Paille when he crushed Brian Strait in the corner prompting to Thornton to protect his linemate. Thornton earned a 10-minute misconduct for intervening, but the Bruins energy line lived up to their billing after kicking themselves for a goal allowed in Wednesday nights loss to the Rangers.

BLACK EYE: Another unproductive night for the Bruins third line as they allowed a goal while they were on the ice and managed to cobble together only a single shot combined between Chris Bourque, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. Peverley did hit a post in the third period on the first real signs of offensive life for him on the season, but Kelly has been very quiet thus far for the Bruins. Bourque made a nice play to break up a scoring attempt for Keith Aucoin in the first period on a hustling back-check and showed good life and jump on the second power play unit, but now only has one shot on net in four games for the Bruins.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dougie Hamilton was given No. 1 star honors for the first multi-point game of his career and its tough to argue with the choice given how much he factored in the offense. It was one of his long bombs from the right point that created a rebound Shawn Thornton was able to pounce on for the Bs first goal, and his heads up outlet pass created some fast break hockey in the third period that ended with a Patrice Bergeron partial breakaway for a goal. He also nearly had a goal on a third period rocket, but instead the shot clanged off Rick DiPietros head, so the search for his first NHL goal will go on.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins finally got untracked in the third period after looking sluggish and lackadaisical for the first 40 minutes, but perhaps that was bound to happen with the Bs catching the Islanders on the second night of a back-to-back situation. They managed to turn up the pressure on the Islanders, and finally broke open the tie with Zdeno Charas game-winner from slot little more than seven minutes into the third period.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 the number of combined hits and blocked shots totaled by Dennis Seidenberg in his first game back after missing two games with a lower body injury. The Bruins miss his toughness and willingness to sacrifice his body when hes not in there.

QUOTE TO NOTE: It definitely wasnt our best game here tonight, those first 40 minutes. But we were able to grind it out and keep it 2-2 after two, and give ourselves a chance to win in the third. It was good to see us have that killer instinct and go out there and win the game. Milan Lucic on a game from the Bruins that wont win any beauty contests, but still got them the two points.

Joe Haggerty contributed portions of this story.

Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice


Morning Skate: Sabres' Okposo back on the ice

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while officially in the Dead Zone of the NHL offseason.

*A great sight to see is Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo taking the ice in a summer league in Minnesota after a health scare at the end of last season.

*Nolan Patrick might be fresh off abdominal surgery, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be rushed if he plays for the Flyers.

*Here’s an offseason power ranking of the offseason moves for the NHL teams, and the Bruins rank 28th out of 31 teams with the organization being “stuck” in the estimation of this writer. I don’t disagree that they’re kind of paralyzed right now until David Pastrnak signs an extension, with other things being held up because of that. The Paul Postma and Kenny Agostino signings were about as small time as you can get on July 1. But the Bruins’ goal for this summer wasn’t to win in the offseason moves department, but instead continue to let their interesting mix of young players and established veterans grow into an effective mix. Winning the offseason power rankings really isn’t the thing for the Black and Gold, and that’s perfectly okay given their situation.

*There’s a wide gap between the Detroit Red Wings and Tomas Tatar with salary arbitration looming.

*It’s a good thing that Barstool Sports is here to ask the really tough questions, like whether Jaromir Jagr is being treated unfairly by NHL teams because of his hair.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has Johnny Gaudreau really high on the window for the Calgary Flames to compete over the next three years with the young, talented group they have in place.  

*Nico Hischier is looking to be a playmaking force for the New Jersey Devils right off the bat after being the No. 1 overall pick in Jersey.

*A slew of soon-to-be college sophomores starred in development camps across the NHL and showed what they learned at the NCAA level.

*Classy tweet from the Arizona Coyotes wishing war hero and distinguished statesman John McCain well in his battle with brain cancer.

*Players that are on AHL contracts will be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics this season. While the loss of NHL participation would be a difficult blow to the Olympics and fans, part of me is happy that some of these AHL guys will get to experience playing for their country when they might not have been able to otherwise.  

*For something completely different: Paul Pierce sees some very good things with first-round pick Jayson Tatum, but he’ll need to see “killer instinct” from the Celtics rookie for him to live up to the Pierce comparisons.


AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics


AHL allowing players on minor-league deals to go to Olympics

Players on American Hockey League contracts will be eligible to play in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

President and CEO David Andrews confirmed through a league spokesman Wednesday that teams were informed they could loan players on AHL contracts to national teams for the purposes of participating in the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The AHL sent a memo to its 30 clubs saying players could only be loaned for Olympic participation from Feb. 5-26.

The Olympic men's hockey tournament runs from Feb. 9-25. Like the NHL, which is not having its players participate for the first time since 1994, the AHL does not have an Olympic break in its schedule.

The AHL's decision does not affect players assigned to that league on NHL one- or two-way contracts. No final decision has been made about those players.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report that the league had told its 31 teams that AHL players could be loaned to play in the Olympics. It was an AHL memo sent at the direction of that league's board of governors.

When the NHL announced in April that it wouldn't be sending players to South Korea after participating in five consecutive Olympics, Andrews said the AHL was prepared for Canada, the United States and other national federations to request players.

"I would guess we're going to lose a fair number of players," Andrews said in April. "Not just to Canada and the U.S., but we're going to lose some players to other teams, as well. But we're used to that. Every team in our league has usually got two or three guys who are on recalls to the NHL, so it's not going to really change our competitive integrity or anything else."

The U.S. and Canada are expected to rely heavily on players in European professional leagues and college and major junior hockey to fill out Olympic rosters without NHL players.