Through the 56-game sprint that was the 2021 NHL regular season, if there was one thing that carried the Boston Bruins, it was their penalty kill.
They finished ranked second in the league behind the Vegas Golden Knights this season and were good in their first-round playoff series win over the Washington Capitals in five games. So far through two games of their second-round series with the New York Islanders, the PK has not been as good.
Monday night in Game 2, the Bruins took two second-period penalties that led to two Islanders’ power play goals in a three-goal outburst in the period which turned the game around for the visitors.
David Pastrnak was called for goalie interference when he collided with New York netminder Semyon Varlamov. The Islanders tied the game on the ensuing mad advantage when Josh Bailey’s pass attempt deflected off of Bruins defensemen Jeremy Lauzon and made its way through Tuukka Rask‘s legs to tie the game 1-1.
After Kyle Palmieri gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead five minutes later, once again, a Boston penalty led to another New York goal. Defensemen Brandon Carlo was called for cross-checking against the Isles Leo Komarov, which led to a Jean-Gabriel Pageau power play goal and a 3-1 lead.
The Bruins battled back in the third period with two goals to force overtime, before Casey Cizikas evened the series with a goal 14:48 into overtime.
The frustrating part of the penalty kill for the Black and Gold is that it has been very effective this season, but on the flip side, the Islanders’ power play has been a struggle through the first six games against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In their first-round win over the Pens, the Isles went 3-for-16, but through the first two games against the Bruins, they are 3-for-6, with two key power play goals Monday night that played a big role in them evening the series.
As the series shifts to the Long Island for Games 3 and 4 Thursday and Saturday nights, the Bruins are going to have their hands full trying to get a split to come home tied 2-2 or be down 3-1. If they are able to get at least a split, they are going to have to be better on the PK.