Islanders offer ominous blueprint on how to expose Bruins’ flaws

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Bruce Cassidy kept things simple when discussing the factors that led to Boston's 7-2 drubbing at the hands of the Islanders on Thursday night.

A succinct summary was appropriate, given the circumstances. After all, it wasn't just one fatal flaw that doomed the Bruins down at Nassau Coliseum.

Had Cassidy delved deep into ALL of the numerous defensive breakdowns, passive play, rookie blunders and other miscues that buried Boston in a game like this, the length of his postgame Zoom conference would rival that of a Tolkien audiobook.

"We didn't execute very well," Cassidy said. "We got down on ourselves, tried to do too much there. A couple of pinches, shorthanded goal against.  ... We just didn't stick with it. We gave up a third goal that — a young kid just got caught a little bit, not moving his feet. Then we pressed, made some mistakes, gave their top players time and space and they buried us."

As encouraging as the Bruins' play has been for most of this 2021 season — amid injuries and a youth movement, no less — trips down to Long Island have not yielded the same fruitful results.

The Islanders have handed Boston three of its four losses on the season, with Barry Trotz's team outscoring the B's 12-4 in those three matchups. It's been quite the role reversal for both clubs — given that the Bruins entered the 2021 season with 9-0-1 record in their last 10 outings against the Islanders, with Boston posting an 18-2-1 record in their last 21 road contests versus New York.

But so far this season — whether it be due to injuries, self-inflicted errors, a stingy opposing defense or that frantic Islanders forecheck — Boston has often been put on the ropes against a New York team that can grind out points with ease.

And even though Thursday's blowout will be put in the rearview mirror shortly with Boston resuming play Friday, all three of these losses against the Isles have all followed a similar course, in which the Islanders — a team that likely will meet the Bruins again in the postseason — have exposed some major flaws on this B's roster.

Capitalizing against green skaters