The Boston Bruins turned in one of their most disappointing performances of the season Monday.
The New York Islanders throttled the Bruins 4-0 in Boston’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee at TD Garden.
All signs pointed to a Bruins win on Monday. The B’s were riding high after a 6-3 win Saturday against Philadelphia, while the Islanders limped in for the final game of a three-game road trip coming off a 7-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss also was Boston’s first matinee setback this season.
Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss stopped all the shots he saw for the Islanders’ first shutout of the Bruins in Boston in franchise history (81 games). Greiss also picked up the win against the Bruins back on Dec. 20 and now has 80 saves on 82 shots in two games at Boston this season.
Here’s how it all went down.
NO COFFEE NEEDED
The Bruins, who entered Monday’s game with a 5-0-0 record in matinees, did carry the play in the first 10 minutes of the game. Boston held New York to only one shot on goal in the first half of the first period, putting consistent pressure on the Islanders in their own end. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug got the TD Garden crowd buzzing with a big hit on a player who’s actually smaller than him: New York forward Stephen Gionta.
Despite the Bruins’ quick start, not a whole lot at all happened in the first period. The teams combined for just 10 shots on goal (Boston holding a 7-3 edge). Other than that … well, nothing really.
The Bruins took two separate penalties midway through the second period — David Pastrnak for high sticking and Zdeno Chara for hooking — and it sure looked like Boston struggled to recover from the penalty-killing situation. The Islanders primarily spent the rest of the second period deep in the Boston end, applying pressure against a Bruins team that looked a lot different than the one that started the game with loads of energy.
Exactly one minute after the B’s killed Chara’s penalty, Nikolai Kulemin was left alone in front of the net and made a nifty move to score right in front.
The Islanders struck again just 118 seconds later on this weird-angle goal by Josh Bailey that Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask certainly wants back.
Finally, a breakdown in the neutral zone turned into a Casey Cizikas breakaway, which Rask turned aside. But Kulemin followed the play, beating the Bruins back into the Boston end. Cizikas retrieved his own rebound and found Kulemin with a nifty little pass, which Kulemin deposited in the back of the net for the Isles’ third goal in 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
CHANGE IT UP
The Bruins replaced Rask with backup Zane McIntyre to start the third period. Rask allowed three goals on just 15 shots. Rask also made an early exit in the teams’ first meeting back on Dec. 20, pulled after the Bruins fell behind 3-0 in the second period.
The Bruins also tried to shake things up by changing the lines.
The Bruins got one final chance to make it a game midway through the third period when Ryan Strome went to the penalty box for slashing. Unfortunately for the Bruins, things didn’t go as planned, and when a puck got through Brad Marchand’s skates at the blue line, Jason Chimera pounced on it and showed that, even at 37 years old, he can still fly. Chimera shot through the neutral zone and beat McIntyre for the goal that put the game out of reach.
The Bruins head out on the road for a quick trip to Detroit to take on the Red Wings on Wednesday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images