An extremely shorthanded Boston Bruins team fought hard against the New York Islanders, but ultimately fell 3-1 on Thursday.
Seven skaters were missing from action, including top players Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith.
Bruins got off to a slow start in the first, getting outshot 9-2 at one point. It was the Islanders’ “Identity Line” that got on the board first, with Cal Clutterbuck finding the back of the net.
Let’s count ladies and gentleman! One, two, three Bruins below the goal line, one standing at the goal lone and no one covering in front. Easy snap shot for Clutterbuck and he beats Ullmark top corner. That’s on Reilly for losing his spot in front.
Nothing going for the Bruins in the first, 1-0 Islanders.
Six seconds into the second, Derek Forbort took a high-sticking penalty and the Islanders went to work on the power play.
Less than two minutes into the frame, the lead was extended to 2-0 with Anthony Beauvillier ripping a slap shot by Ullmark.
Great screen in front by Zach Parise. Ullmark looking on the wrong side and Beauvillier recognizes that and goes far side instead.
After Matt Martin laid a big hit on David Pastrnak, Nick Foligno went at him on the next faceoff and the two dropped the mitts. Nice to see a response from Foligno, who is supposed to be a leader and protect the skill guy.
While the Bruins got 20 shots on Semyon Varlamov in the second frame, nothing was going. Not a ton of high-danger scoring chances. Pastrnak had one, coming in and deking on Varlamov, but he made the necessary save and New York had a 2-0 lead going into the third.
Really not much on either side. Bruins pressured the Islanders but again, not a lot of dangerous scoring chances. Made it pretty easy for Varlamov despite the high shot count.
Clutterbuck got his second of the night on empty-net goal with 2:17 left in the game. Reilly put the Bruins on the board with a garbage time goal under a minute left so the final score ended 3-1.
- Well, not sure what people expected. A team that already struggles with depth had to play with just 11 forwards tonight, with five of their usual group out. It really was a good effort and they outplayed the Islanders at time, but the result was kind of exactly what I expected
- Linus Ullmark kept the Bruins in the game. Not a lot of chances generating from the Islanders, who were missing Mat Barzal, but he was there when they were. Make it six straight games where Ullmark has allowed just two goals
- Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak should continue to play together. Hall is a much different player when he is surrounded by top talent. This stretch without Bergeron and Marchand will probably continue to prove that
- He didn’t do anything special, but I thought Jesper Froden had a pretty good NHL debut. He’s got a good motor on him, goes hard on the forecheck and gives 100% effort every shift. He doesn’t really seem like an NHL guy and he’s 27 so he’s not going to develop much more, but for an AHL guy, he didn’t stick out in a bad way
- Is Jack Studnicka ever going to translate his AHL game to the NHL? How is it he can stand out so much with Providence and then show none of it when he gets a chance in Boston? I don’t know if he’s timid or what, but you’d expect at least some flashes of his offensive ability but there’s nothing there
- Hey, it was nice to see Nick Foligno stand out for Pasta. Matt Martin is no easy customer either to fight. Kuddos to him
A tough loss in the standings, but it was going to take a big effort to beat the Islanders.
The Montreal game on Saturday has already been postponed with Sunday’s game in Ottawa still in question. The Bruins need some time to get everyone healthy so they can field at least a decent roster. Thursday would have been a lot worse against most other teams in the NHL.