After trailing early in the first period, New York Islanders came back to pull off a, 3-2, shootout victory at TD Garden over the Boston Bruins on Thursday.
Semyon Varlamov (12-3-2 record, 2.34 goals against average, .923 save percentage in 20 games played) made 27 saves on 29 shots against for a .931 SV% in the win for the Islanders.
Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask (13-4-5, 2.29 GAA, .922 SV% in 22 games played) stopped 19 out of 21 shots faced (.905 SV% in the shootout loss).
It was the second fewest saves on the second fewest shots against that Rask has faced this season.
Boston fell to 21-7-8 (50 points) this season, but remained in 1st place in the Atlantic Division, while New York improved to 23-8-2 (48 points) and stayed in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Bruins are now 12-1-7 at home this season and 1-4-3 in their last eight games.
It was also the first time that the Islanders beat the B’s in their last eight meetings.
Kevan Miller (knee) and Karson Kuhlman (fractured tibia) were out of the lineup once again Thursday night for Boston.
Miller has yet to make his season debut and has missed the first 36 games this season, while Kuhlman has been out for 28 consecutive games since being injured in Toronto on Oct. 19th.
Zach Senyshyn (lower body) was reactivated from long-term injured reserve and assigned to the Providence Bruins (AHL) on Wednesday. Senyshyn had been out of the lineup since being injured against the Florida Panthers on Nov. 12th.
Bruce Cassidy announced earlier in the day on Thursday that Connor Clifton would be back in the lineup on the blue line with Matt Grzelcyk on the third defensive pairing while John Moore is out sick.
Cassidy made a few minor changes to his forward lines at morning skate– moving Danton Heinen up to the second line right wing with Jake DeBrusk at left wing and David Krejci at center, while bumping Charlie Coyle back to his third line center role.
Coyle was flanked by Anders Bjork on his left side and Chris Wagner on his right side with Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Kuraly and David Backes comprising the fourth line.
Brett Ritchie and Par Lindholm were the only healthy scratches in the press box for the Bruins against the Islanders.
Bjork (5) kicked things off with an early goal at 1:58 of the first period, giving Boston the, 1-0, lead after the winger scored his first goal in 12 games on a snap shot over Varlamov’s blocker.
Coyle (11) had the only assist on Bjork’s goal.
Moments later, New York had too many skaters on the ice and was assessed a bench minor as a result. Jordan Eberle served the penalty for the Islanders at 6:00 of the first period.
Boston couldn’t convert on the ensuing legal skater advantage.
About a minute after the power play expired for the Bruins, the B’s went on the penalty kill for the first time Thursday night after Clifton caught Anders Lee with a stick and tripped the Isles’ captain at 9:09.
New York was not successful on their first power play of the night.
In the final minute of the opening frame, Casey Cizikas tripped up the NHL’s leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak, at 19:13 and presented the Bruins with another power play that would carry over into the second period if the B’s couldn’t score by the end of the period.
Entering the first intermission, Boston led, 1-0, on the scoreboard, but trailed New York, 4-3, in shots on goal.
The Islanders also led in blocked shots (8-5), takeaways (6-3) and hits (13-8), while the Bruins led in giveaways (6-4) and faceoff win percentage (53-47).
New York was 0/1 on the skater advantage and Boston was 0/2 on the power play heading into the second period.
Former Bruin turned Islanders defender, Johnny Boychuk (2) blasted one of his patented slap shots from the point that beat Rask on the short side with a screen in front of the net.
Eberle (10) and Lee (10) notched the assists on Boychuk’s goal as the Islanders tied the game, 1-1, at 3:26 of the second period.
Midway through the middle frame, Derick Brassard caught Clifton with a high stick and cut a rut to the penalty box at 12:24. Once more, however, the Bruins were unsuccessful on the power play.
Late in the period, Varlamov robbed Bjork on a one-timer opportunity with a diving glove save across the crease to keep the game tied with 3:33 remaining in the period.
About a minute later, Mathew Barzal (14) scored a one-timer of his own after DeBrusk couldn’t score on a breakaway in Boston’s attacking zone.
Barzal stood inside the low slot and went unnoticed by the B’s defense as the Bruins turned the puck over in New York’s attacking zone and Boychuk faked a shot, then fired a hard pass to Barzal for the go-ahead goal.
For the first time of the night, the Islanders led, 2-1, with Boychuk (7) notching the only assist on Barzal’s goal at 18:26 of the second period.
About a minute later, Brandon Carlo tripped up Eberle and went to the box at 19:44.
The Isles did not convert on the ensuing power play opportunity.
Through 40 minutes of play, New York led Boston, 2-1, on the scoreboard despite shots on net being even, 10-10.
The Islanders held the advantage in blocked shots (13-7), takeaways (12-5) and hits (24-14), while the Bruins led in giveaways (12-6) and faceoff win% (53-47).
New York was 0/2 and Boston was 0/3 on the power play heading into the second intermission.
Adam Pelech caught Brad Marchand with a high stick at 6:32 of the third period and the Bruins went on the power play early in the final frame of regulation.
It wasn’t long before the skater advantage became a two-skater advantage as Brock Nelson sent the puck clear over the glass and yielded an automatic delay of game penalty at 7:16.
Boston went on the 5-on-3 power play for a span of 1:16, unless they scored before the advantage expired.
Eight seconds after Nelson was sent to the box, the Bruins won the ensuing faceoff back to Torey Krug, whereby the defender worked the puck to Pastrnak, then back to Krug, at which point No. 47 in black-and-gold flipped the puck down low to Krejci.
Krejci finally sent a pass back to Krug (5) for the one-timer as the Bruins defender moved in from the point to tie the game, 2-2, at 7:24 of the third period.
Krejci (17) and Pastrnak (22) picked up the assists on Boston’s first power play goal in five power play opportunities of the night.
Both teams swapped chance after chance, but no penalties and no goals were scored thereafter as the horn sounded on regulation with the game heading to overtime– knotted up, 2-2.
Boston led in shots on goal in the third period alone, 16-9– increasing their total advantage to, 26-19.
Meanwhile New York held the advantage in blocked shots (17-8), takeaways (17-7) and hits (35-22). The Bruins led in giveaways (13-10) and faceoff win% (59-41) after regulation.
The Islanders were 0/2 and the B’s were 1/5 on the power play heading into overtime.
In overtime, both teams swapped a few high quality scoring chances and let thing slip away as Krejci blew a pass at one point and Devon Toews lost control of the puck at another point.
Rask and Varlamov matched each other’s efforts with save after save from the third period throughout overtime.
After five minutes of play in the extra frame, the two teams needed to declare a winner and squared off in a shootout.
Cassidy started Coyle, Bjork and Krug in overtime, while Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz, opted for Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier and Nick Leddy.
There were no goals and no penalties in overtime, but the Bruins outshot the Islanders, 3-2, in the extra frame alone– bringing their final total advantage to, 29-21.
New York finished the effort leading in blocked shots (19-9) and hits (39-24), while Boston held the advantage in giveaways (14-11) and faceoff win% (59-41).
The Isles finished the night 0/2 on the skater advantage and the B’s went 1/5 on the power play Thursday night.
Boston opted to shoot second in the shootout, thereby giving Trotz the first option to kick things off in the shootout.
First up for the Islanders, Eberle deked and scored with a wrist shot over Rask’s blocker.
In response, Cassidy sent out Coyle who stickhandled the puck and sent a shot off the post over Varlamov’s glove side.
Barzal kicked off the second round of the shootout with a big, sweeping deke, then wired the puck off the cross bar and in over Rask’s glove, but the Bruins wouldn’t go down without a fight just yet.
Needing to score to keep the shootout alive, Pastrnak approached the net with speed and creativity– pulling Varlamov out of the crease before deking one final time and finishing his shot on the forehand while wrapping the puck around Varlamov’s outstretched leg pad and into the twine.
Rask needed to make a save to give his team a third and possibly final shot if the Bruins couldn’t score and Rask came up big as he aggressively stayed square to the shooter– Josh Bailey– and made a pad save.
Finally, with the game on his stick– score and continue the shootout in “sudden death” or be denied in any way and go home– Marchand skated in on Varlamov and had the New York goaltender committed to a hybrid stance and an aggressive maneuver, but Marchand chose to go five-hole and was denied.
If only Marchand had elevated the puck in any way.
The Islanders improved to 3-0 in shootouts this season with the, 3-2, shootout victory in Boston.
Meanwhile, the Bruins fell to 0-5 in shootouts this season as a result of the loss.
The B’s also fell to 12-3-1 when leading after the first period this season, 14-5-4 when scoring the game’s first goal this season and 4-5-4 when trailing after two periods this season.
Boston continues their four-game homestand (0-0-2) on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators before finishing it off with their last game before the holiday break against the Washington Capitals on Monday (Dec. 23rd).