Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 7-2 loss to the Islanders in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:
Bruins obliterated in third period
Just six weeks into the 2021 NHL season, the road through the Eastern Division is becoming increasingly clear for Boston when it comes to charting the easiest course toward another Stanley Cup.
The primary strategy?
Avoid the Islanders, at all costs.
Despite routinely having New York's number over the past few seasons, Boston has labored extensively against Barry Trotz's club in 2021, with three of its four regulation losses coming at the hand of the Isles — and none more painful than Thursday's 7-2 drubbing down at Nassau Coliseum.
Entering the third period stuck in a 2-2 deadlock, a lack of urgency, porous defense and a weak netfront presence doomed the B's, as the Islanders buried five goals — including four in a span of just 5:52 — to hand the B's their second regulation loss in three games. Jaroslav Halak relinquished all seven goals in the loss for the Bruins, who drop to 11-4-2 on the season.
Even though Boston's first two meetings against the Islanders were primarily snoozefests due to New York's stingy defensive play, things went off the rails in the early going of Thursday's game — with both clubs combining for 25 shots in the first period alone.
Boston's second shot of the contest managed to find twine, as Nick Ritchie — parked down low in the blue paint — gathered a backhand pass from Jakub Zboril and promptly tapped it home for his seventh goal of the season just 1:02 into regulation.
The B's lead was short-lived, as a patented extended forechecking shift in New York resulted in an equalizer from Adam Pelech just 2:14 later. Not to be outdone, Mat Barzal capitalized against a lax Boston defense later in the first, slipping past John Moore and Connor Clifton and snapping a puck past Halak at 12:39, giving the home club a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes of action.
As Boston's defense settled down in the second, the ice began to tilt back in Boston's favor — with Craig Smith knotting the game up at 2-2 after his shot bounced off of Matt Martin's stick and past Semyon Varlamov.
And then ... the third period happened. The floodgates opened for New York after a brutal sequence from Trent Frederic — with Anthony Beauvillier picking the young forward's pocket in the slot and burying one past Halak to give the Islanders a lead that they would not surrender for the remainder of the evening.
Things just went off a cliff from there, with a pinching Charlie McAvoy leading to a 2-on-1 break for the Isles, with Jordan Eberle making it a 4-2 game in short order at 10:45 in the third. Add in a shorthanded tally by Jean-Gabriel Pageau just 1:39 later, and any chances of a third-period comeback for the B's was snuffed out. To add insult to injury, the Islanders were not done, capping off the night by potting two more goals against a Boston roster that clearly was already looking ahead to Friday's game against the Rangers.