Bruins Notes: Bruce Cassidy Reveals Turning Point In Loss To Islanders

'I expect better"


March 25, 2021

For whatever reason, the Boston Bruins just can’t seem to beat the New York Islanders.

Boston dropped its fifth game of the season to New York on Thursday night in a 4-3 overtime loss at TD Garden. It was the first time fans had been allowed back inside the building since March 2020.

The Bruins held a 2-0 lead at one point thanks to goals from Karson Kuhlman and Steven Kampfer, but the Islanders stormed back and came away with the win.

While a lot went right for the Bruins — they got some secondary scoring, the power play’s second unit looked pretty good — more went wrong.

“We have a 2-0 lead, got some secondary scoring, second-unit power play … didn’t defend well enough in front of our net, had to switch goalies, I’m sure it wasn’t easy on (Jaroslav Halak) to go in a situation like that,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “They finished around the front of the net, we could have been harder, could have used an extra stop. Got a point out of it. We’re in a position to get two. Again, they played winning hockey in the third period better than we did.”

Boston had a power play for four minutes after the Isles were called for a high-stick on Patrice Bergeron and assessed a double-minor. But New York killed it off and was able to score shortly after the penalty expired to cut its deficit in half.

This was the moment Cassidy knew was the turning point for the team.

“Power play. You’re not gonna score on every one. We did get one to extend the lead, had a few looks we misfired on. But it was a bad change and we got frustrated late in it,” he said. “Guys that we rely on — leaders — that I’ve praised for years here disappointed, in not just being able to grind it out, (but) change when you’re supposed to, make the plays you’re supposed to and that power play might not go in. But keep the momentum ? now they kill a penalty and they cut the deficit in half in a quick strike. So, they need to be better in that situation. I expect better. And that, to me, gave the Islanders some life that really wasn’t necessary.”

The Bruins now are 0-3-2 against the Islanders this season.

Here are some other notes from Thursday’s Bruins-Islanders game:

— Tuukka Rask played just one period before not returning to the game. Halak came in for the final 40 minutes plus overtime.

“Upper-body,” Cassidy said. “No idea after that. He left, I haven?t seen him since. Probably have a better update for you (Friday).”

Rask hadn’t played in a game since March 7 after dealing with some discomfort. It’s unclear if Thursday’s ailment is new or if he re-aggravated a previous injury.

— Kuhlman’s goal was his first 397 days, while Kampfer’s last tally came 732 days ago.

— Anders Bjork tied things up just 54 seconds after New York took its first lead of the night in the third. The forward had some of the best legs on the team throughout the night, and he was bound to find the back of the net eventually.

“It was cool,” Bjork said of hearing fans back in the stands for the first time in over a year react to his goal. “It’s why we love playing for the Bruins, why I love playing for the Bruins is for moments like that. They’re really special, I don’t think other places have it quite as special as we do.”

— Fans were allowed back inside TD Garden for the first time in 383 days, something the players certainly missed during that time.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t send them home in a better mood,” Cassidy said. “? Hopefully Saturday we give them more to cheer about.”

— The Bruins return to the ice Saturday afternoon when they welcome the lowly Buffalo Sabres to TD Garden.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
TD Garden
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