Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 4-2 loss to the Islanders in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:
B's hemmed in during final leg of road trip
The Bruins' 10-game point streak — and five-game win streak — came to an end on Saturday night, with the B's coming up short against the only team that has bested them in regulation this season, the New York Islanders. Unlike their 1-0 loss to the Isles back on Jan. 18 that was more of a defensive grind, Saturday's 4-2 defeat saw the Bruins regularly hemmed in by a frantic New York forecheck — with O-zone misplays, special-teams struggles and a rough outing in net all contributing to Boston's second regulation loss of the 2021 season.
Granted, it was a promising start for Boston on the tail end of its back-to-back stretch, with Brad Marchand opening the scoring at 8:41 in the first period — capping off an impressive sequence in which the Bruins spent 1:04 in New York's zone before Patrice Bergeron set up Marchand's tally with a slick backhand feed. But New York answered back with an extended O-zone shift of their own, as Jean-Gabriel Pageau cleaned up a scrum down low and beat Tuukka Rask to tie things up just 2:55 seconds after Marchand's goal.
The Islanders took the lead back later in the first, with a low-danger shot from Jordan Eberle at 15:16 slipping past Rask and giving the home club a 2-1 advantage going into the intermission.
Even though poor puck management continued to plague the B's against an Islanders team that seemed to come in waves in the O-zone, Boston did secure the equalizer later in the second — with Bergeron, aided by a crisp pass from Marchand and Brandon Carlo driving to the net, snapping a puck past Semyon Varlamov to make it a 2-2 game.
However, Boston had little answer for the Islanders on special teams during the final period of regulation, with New York taking the lead for good on their lone power-play bid of the night — with an unprotected Mathew Barzal rifling home a shot from the left circle at 5:30 in the third. To add insult to injury, the Islanders scored again on a shorthanded sequence, with Boston's last legitimate chance at a third-period rally snuffed out when Pageau buried his second of the game on a Bruins' power play to cap the scoring at 14:32.
With the loss, Boston falls to 10-2-2 on the season.
B's lose Zboril to injury: A Bruins D corps already skating without a key cog in Matt Grzelcyk lost another body after the first period of Saturday's matchup, as Jakub Zboril was ruled out following the first period of play due to an upper-body injury. While there wasn't a specific sequence that one might identify as to what knocked Zboril out of the contest, the 23-year-old blueliner has absorbed quite a few hits over the last couple of games — including a high strike from Jacob Trouba on Friday in the B's win over the Rangers. However, Bruce Cassidy noted postgame that Zboril was given a clean bill of health entering Saturday's bout.
Even before leaving the contest, Zboril seemed off throughout the first period — fighting the puck on multiple shifts and committing a number of O-zone turnovers. Thankfully, Boston is going to have four full days off before potentially resuming play against the Devils on Thursday, so the B's banged-up blue line should have some time to lick their wounds. If Zboril and Matt Grzelcyk remain out, Boston will likely turn to both Connor Clifton and John Moore as the next men up for the time being.