Semyon Varlamov earned his league-leading 2nd shutout this season in as many games as the New York Islanders beat the Boston Bruins, 1-0, Monday night at Nassau Live at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Varlamov (2-0-0, 0.00 goals against average, 1.000 save percentage in two games played) made 27 saves en route to the shutout win for New York.
Boston goaltender, Tuukka Rask (1-1-0, 1.46 GAA, .923 SV% in two games played) stopped 16 out of 17 shots faced for a .941 SV% in the loss.
The Bruins fell to 1-1-1 (three points) on the season and dropped to a tie for 4th place in the MassMutual NHL East Division, while the Islanders improved to 2-1-0 on the season (four points) and moved up to a tie for 2nd place with the Philadelphia Flyers– at least temporarily, as the Flyers were in action Monday night.
Boston also fell to 18-3-1 in their last 22 games against New York in the regular season.
Prior to puck drop, the Islanders aired a National Hockey League produced video on the Jumbotron celebrating the 63rd anniversary of when Willie O’Ree broke the league’s color barrier on Jan. 18, 1958, with the Bruins.
All 31 teams have been sporting O’Ree decals on their helmets with the words “Celebrating Equality” emblazoned on a profile of O’Ree wearing his famous fedora for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend.
O’Ree will have his No. 22 retired by Boston ahead of their matchup with the New Jersey Devils on Feb. 18th this season. They will honor him again as soon as possible whenever fans will be allowed at TD Garden.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a few changes to his lineup with Ondrej Kase (upper body) out against the Islanders on Monday.
Patrice Bergeron centered the first line with Brad Marchand in his usual spot on the left wing, while Jake DeBrusk was moved up to the first line right wing.
Nick Ritchie took DeBrusk’s usual spot on the second line left wing with David Krejci at center and Jack Studnicka on the right wing.
Charlie Coyle centered the third line with Anders Bjork to his left and Craig Smith to his right, while the fourth line remained untouched.
On defense, Jeremy Lauzon and Charlie McAvoy remained paired, while Matt Grzelcyk was partnered with Brandon Carlo and Jakub Zboril had Kevan Miller by his side.
Monday night marked 300 career NHL games for Carlo and 200 career NHL games for Grzelcyk. Both defenders have spent their entire careers with Boston thus far.
Kase missed his first game this season due to injury after taking a stick up high in Saturday afternoon’s, 2-1, overtime loss in New Jersey, while David Pastrnak missed his third straight game and is yet to make his season debut after offseason hip surgery.
Pastrnak remains ahead of schedule, however, and is likely to return before his original prognosis of Feb. 16th.
Greg McKegg, Par Lindholm, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Connor Clifton and Dan Vladar were in the press box as healthy scratches and taxi squad members Monday night.
Almost midway through the opening frame, Carlo cross checked Matt Martin and presented the first power play of the evening to the Islanders at 7:25 of the first period.
New York wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however.
Late in the period, Isles forward, Casey Cizikas, knocked down Coyle without the puck and earned a trip to the penalty box for interference at 16:40.
Boston was not able to score on the resulting power play.
Entering the first intermission, the game remained tied, 0-0, while the Bruins were leading in shots on goal, 11-3.
New York held the advantage in blocked shots (7-3), takeaways (3-1) and hits (9-6), while both teams had three giveaways each, were 50-50 in faceoff win percentage and 0/1 on the power play after 20 minutes on Monday.
Adam Pelech was guilty of holding Marchand 53 seconds into the second period and presented the Bruins with their second power play opportunity of the night.
Boston’s skater advantage was cut short, however, as Ritchie slashed Scott Mayfield and earned a trip to the sin bin at 1:43 of the middle frame.
New York earned a short power play after an abbreviated 4-on-4 sequence, but the Isles still weren’t able to score on the power play.
The Islanders lost count at one point and had too many skaters on the ice, resulting in a bench minor that was served by Jordan Eberle at 6:53.
Boston’s power play was powerless and New York got by unscathed.
Late in the period, Smith clipped Varlamov in the skate with his stick, which Varlamov embellished for dramatic affect, but was goaltender interference nonetheless.
The Islanders went back on the power play with Smith in the box for goaltender interference at 15:45, but Boston’s penalty kill held their ground.
Through 40 minutes of action on Monday, the game was still tied, 0-0, despite the Bruins outshooting the Islanders, 17-10.
New York, however, actually led in shots on goal in the second period alone, 7-6, as well as in blocked shots (11-10), takeaways (7-1), giveaways (8-4), hits (20-15) and faceoff win% (60-40) heading into the second intermission.
Both teams were 0/3 on the power play prior to the final frame of regulation.
Marchand cross-checked Eberle to kick things off with a trip to the penalty box at 1:17 of the third period.
Once again, though, Boston’s penalty kill did not concede to New York’s power play.
Moments later, Eberle tripped Grzelcyk while the two players were tied up– causing Grzelcyk to fall awkwardly to the ice and leave the game with an upper body injury (he was favoring his left arm, for the record).
Trent Frederic served Grzelcyk’s interference infraction, while Eberle was assessed a tripping minor at 5:43, resulting in 4-on-4 action for a pair of minutes early in the period.
Late in the period, Jean-Gabriel Pageau (1) hit a home run on a puck that was floating in mid-air as Pelech fired a shot that deflected off of Bergeron’s stick before Pageau whacked it into the twine above Rask’s blocker side.
Pelech (1) and Ryan Pulock (1) tallied the assists on the game’s first and only goal at 15:51 of the third period.
The Islanders took the, 1-0, lead and that was enough for the final result on Monday.
Less than a minute later, McAvoy was called for holding against Anthony Beauvillier at 16:07, but once again New York’s power play was powerless.
With 1:35 remaining in the game, Rask vacated his net for an extra attacker.
The Bruins used their timeout after a stoppage with 51.4 seconds left in the action, but it was to no avail.
At the final horn, the Islanders had won, 1-0, and Varlamov recorded the shutout.
Boston finished the night leading in shots on goal, 27-17, including a, 10-7, advantage in the third period alone, while New York wrapped up Monday night’s action leading in blocked shots (17-12), hits (31-26) and faceoff win% (51-49).
The Bruins held the final advantage in giveaways (10-9) on Monday.
The Islanders finished the game 0/5 on the skater advantage, while the B’s went 0/3 on the power play.
The Bruins finished their three-game road trip 1-1-1 to start the 2020-21 56-game regular season.
Boston returns home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday and Saturday for their first two home games of the season at TD Garden. The B’s then host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 26th and 28th before hitting the road again.
For the first time since Nov. 2, 2013, the Islanders beat the Bruins on home ice. New York beat Boston, 3-1, that day.