Boston, MA. – The Boston Bruins finally beat the New York Islanders, 4-1, after failing to in five tries this season. Tuukka Rask (22 saves) made his long-awaited return to the Bruins lineup and picked up his 300th career win in the process. Brad Marchand scored twice, and Taylor Hall notched his first goal as a Bruin as the team put together a complete performance in earning the win.
“He looked rock solid,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy of Rask. “We didn’t give him a heavy workload, but he was there when we needed him and good for him.”
The Bruins dominated the opening frame from puck drop to buzzer. It only took Boston 1:49 to get on the board when Marchand redirected a Mike Reilly shot past Semyon Varlamov (41 saves). The goal wasn’t apparent initially, as referees went to a review during the next stoppage in play. Reilly and Patrice Bergeron each notched their 20th assists on Marchand’s 20th goal of the season. The point was Reilly’s first as a Bruin, after being acquired via trade with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.
Boston was unable to capitalize on back-to-back power-play opportunities during the first half of the period.
Tripping was called on Boston’s Charlie Coyle at 13:45, giving the Islanders a chance on the man advantage, but a High-Sticking call on Islanders forward Brock Nelson negated the Islanders power-play. Nelson drew blood on Reilly and was assessed four minutes in the box at 14:49.
Craig Smith made it 2-0 when his snapshot found its way past Varlamov at 17:55. Krejci and McAvoy assisted Smith’s power-play goal.
Boston finished the first period outshooting the Islanders 22-5.
Islanders forward Travis Zajac cut the deficit to one when he deposited a Matthew Barzal feed past Rask to make it 2-1. Jordan Eberle was also credited with assisting Zajac’s first goal as a member of the Islanders. An errant Marchand pass led to the Islanders regaining possession of the puck in the Bruins zone.
The teams were pretty even throughout the remainder of the second period. Neither team was able to take advantage of the power-play. New York on a David Krejci Hooking call at 9:54 and Boston on a Cal Clutterbuck High-Sticking at 15:25.
The shots on goal were tied at 13 apiece for the second, giving the Bruins a two-period 35-18 advantage.
Hall scored his first goal as a member of the Bruins at 1:52 of the third period after David Pastrnak sent him racing into the Islanders zone against Varlamov.
“There’s something different about playing for an Original Six franchise like the Bruins,” said the 29-year-old Hall. “There’s a culture here that is special. We’re just a piece of the puzzle here. That’s the motto.”
Marchand notched his second of the game at 18:21 when he fired a shot from the half-wall into an open Islanders net, as Varlamov was on the bench for an extra attacker.
“A good, solid game. I thought we didn’t let our foot off the gas. We really had no passengers tonight. That’s always what you’re looking for,” said Cassidy.