The Islanders entered the third period all even with the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, but 20 minutes later, there was little doubt as to which team deserved to win. The Bruins scored four goals in the third period and defeated the Islanders 6-3 before a vocal sellout crowd at the Nassau Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
“They exposed us in the third [period],” admitted Isles Coach Jack Capuano. “The last few games we played pretty well. The power play could have been the difference tonight, but we couldn’t generate too many chances there. They are Stanley Cup champs for a reason.”
“We had way too many turnovers tonight,” Capuano continued. “Our puck management has got to be an integral part of our game. Every time they took the puck away our D weren’t able to gap up and hold the gap and give us the time and space that we needed.”
The first two periods were cautious with both teams playing fairly solid defense. After 40 minutes, the game was tied 2-2 with David Krejci and Chris Kelly scoring for the Bruins while Kyle Okposo and P.A. Parenteau tallied for the Islanders. The shots on goal were fairly even as well with the Isles outshooting the Bruins 16-14.
But the third period belonged to the Bruins. Too often, they were able to find open space in the Islanders zone and on several occasions, the Bruins scored goals that looked easy due to defensive coverage breakdowns. They outshot the Isles 13-6 in the final 20 minutes and outscored them 4-1 to provide the final 6-3 margin of victory.
Tyler Seguin had a very strong game for the Bruins, finishing with a goal and two assists. Brad Marchand matched Seguin’s scoring output while Krejci scored twice to pace the Bruins attack. Marty Turco looked vulnerable at times but made 19 saves to earn the victory for the Bruins.
With the loss, the Islanders are officially eliminated from the playoffs. However, they still have a desire to finish the season with some strong performances.
“We want to keep going and to keep winning as many games as we can and play the season right to the end,” John Tavares said. “We have a lot of pride and our attitude in the locker room is to win.”
One highlight for the Isles was seeing Matt Martin set a new NHL record for hits in a single season. The feisty forward was credited with six more this afternoon, bringing his season total to 360 with four games remaining on the schedule. The old record was held by Cal Clutterbuck of Minnesota who had 356 hits back in 2008-09.
The Islanders return to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Ottawa Senators at the Nassau Coliseum. The Bruins are also in action Sunday as they head to Madison Square Garden to take on the Rangers Sunday night.
The Islanders recalled Michael Haley from Bridgeport prior to today’s game to fill in for the injured Casey Cizikas (upper body).
The Bruins took the season series from the Islanders 3-1-0.