Boston, MA – Tyler Hall‘s highlight-reel goal in overtime earned the Boston Bruins two points in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders in front of 4,565 at TD Garden. It also solidified the Bruins post-season match-up against the Washington Capitals in the first round of the NHL Playoffs.
Boston had a one-point lead over the Islanders in the standings coming into tonight’s game. The Islanders will take on the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins (37-16-3) in the opening round.
The visiting Islanders had penalty issues in the first period leading to three Bruins power play opportunities. It wasn’t until the third one that the Bruins capitalized on the man advantage.
Leo Komarov went to the box for four minutes for two penalties: Slashing initially and a second for Unsportsmanlike Conduct for hitting David Pastrnak after the whistle. Taylor Hall wristed a David Krejci cross-crease pass past Semyon Varlamov (25 saves) to give Boston the 1-0 lead at 19:41. The goal was Hall’s fourth as a member of the Bruins and seventh of the season.
New York’s Casey Cizikas poked the puck past Charlie McAvoy at the Islanders blue line and drew a Hooking call on the Boston defenseman with eight seconds left in the period. Cizekas managed to get a backhanded shot off on Tuukka Rask (16 saves) but hit the post.
Hall opened the second period by getting called for Cross-Checking fifty-six seconds in. Oliver Wahlstrom made the Bruins pay when he blasted a one-timer from the top of the left circle by Rask to tie it 1-1 at 1:38. Matthew Barzal and Nick Leddy assisted Wahlstrom’s twelfth of the year.
Brad Marchand gave the Bruins the lead at 6:15 when he tapped in a David Krejci feed at the top of the crease. Marchand fought off Isles defenseman Ryan Pulock in front of Varlamov to deposit his 29th of the year into the New York net.
The Boston led was short-lived as Barzal evened up the score at 8:31 with a wrist shot that beat Rask glove-side high. Pulock and Anthony Beauvillier assisted on Barzal’s 17th of the season.
The Islanders opened the third with backup goalie Ilya Sorokin (10 saves) in net for Varlamov.
Jake DeBrusk was unable to capitalize on a two-on-one with Pastrnak in overtime. DeBrusk put too much lift on his attempt to roof the puck over a sprawling Sorokin.
Hall’s heroics bailed out DeBrusk at 2:53 of the extra frame. Hall looped the neutral zone and hit Krejci at center ice for the give and go. Hall carried into the Isles zone, beat defenseman Leddy through the legs, and then fired off a backhander far side past Sorokin for his eighth of the season.
“That’s the Taylor Hall we were hoping to get,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy about Hall’s overtime strike.
“I liked our game tonight. I thought we were good in all areas,” added Cassidy.
“It’s been a good transition for me,” said Hall, who admittedly wasn’t playing with confidence when he was traded to Boston in April. “I feel like I’ve had a positive impact.”
The Bruins (33-15-7) travel to Washington (35-15-5) to take on the Capitals tomorrow night in the regular-season finale. The Islanders, meanwhile, complete their regular season 32-17-7 for 71 points.