BOSTON - The Bruins didn’t get an easy mark on New Year’s Eve and they turned into a pumpkin on the ice long before the clock struck midnight.
The Bruins and Isles ended up entering the third period locked in a 3-3 tie, after a two-goal lead crumbled for Boston behind a pair of power play strikes for the Islanders, and Boston self-destructed in a 5-3 loss at TD Garden.
A pair of John Tavares goals in the third period proved to be the difference, and the Isles ended the B's stretch of 14 consecutive games on home ice without a regulation loss dating all the way to Oct. 26. The B’s let up four power play goals to the Islanders, and committed some really poor penalties in the final two periods against a very beatable bunch from New York.
The Bruins built up a 3-1 lead after David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille built up the lead. Krejci popped in the second effort rebound of a Jarome Iginla shot in the first period for his 100th career goal, and extended his personal point streak to five games.
Patrice Bergeron ripped home a one-timer from the slot off a nice feed from Ryan Spooner for Boston’s second goal, and 25 seconds later Daniel Paille tipped a Zdeno Chara shot from the left face-off circle.
The Bruins seemed to ease up after getting the quick two-goal lead, and power play strikes from Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo – aided by good bounces – tied things up headed into the third period. The B’s had allowed two power play goals in their past 10 games before giving up the four power-play strikes to a mediocre Islanders power play on Tuesday night.
GOLD STAR: Two goals in the third period for John Tavares were as the game-winner and insurance marker for the New York Islanders in their second straight comeback victory, and left the Islanders captain with a game-high four points in 21:31 of ice time. The first goal was a bad angle shot from behind the goal line that went off Tuukka Rask’s pads and into the net, and the second was a blast from the left face-off circle that eluded the B’s goaltender. He had five shot attempts and lost 15-of-23 face-offs in a rough evening from the circle, but Tavares made the plays when it mattered in the third period.
BLACK EYE: The penalty kill really deserves the stink eye after giving up four power-play goals to a middle-of-the-road Islanders PP unit, and letting them back into the game when they held a commanding 3-1 lead in the second period. Zdeno Chara was on the ice for three of the Isles power-play goals, and Tuukka Rask chucked a puck over the glass leading to the Kyle Okposo tying score off Brad Marchand’s stick with just 3 seconds remaining in the second period. The four power-play goals allowed were the most since their last regulation loss at TD Garden, when they allowed four power-play goals to the New Jersey Devils in another clunker.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins were up 3-1 in the second period after scoring two goals in 25 seconds, and they basically kicked their feet up and put it into cruise control for the rest of the game. They allowed four unanswered goals to the Islanders – including three goals on the power play – and really never tried to reclaim control of the game once it slipped away from them. The tying goal with 3 seconds remaining in the second period and the game-winner 32 seconds into the third period were both backbreakers.
HONORABLE MENTION: Kyle Okposo finished with three points and the tying goal when he fired a puck from the corner that went off Brad Marchand’s stick, and then past Tuukka Rask with just 3 seconds remaining in the second period. He generated six shot attempts in 20:52 of ice time, and showed the big-bodied determination and skill that’s made him a serious candidate for the US Olympic team set to be announced Wednesday. If the Isles are going to climb out of the abyss they’re in, then they’re going to need to Okposo and John Tavares to lead the way as they did against the Bruins.
BY THE NUMBERS: 100 – the number of goals in David Krejci’s career after his first-period strike gave him the nice even number. Krejci got to the century mark in 464 NHL games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You give credit [to the New York Islanders] for a good game, but a lot of it is our own doing; we’re not playing the way we should and we’re taking too many penalties.” –Patrice Bergeron, bringing some clear-eye realism to the table after a sloppy game from the Bruins.