The Boston Bruins fell to the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime Monday night at TD Garden. The teams’ second-round Stanley Cup playoff series now is tied 1-1.
Here are some takeaways, thoughts and analysis from Game 2.
— The Bruins had issues on the penalty kill for the second straight game. The Islanders scored on two of their three power-play chances, and they’re now 3-for-6 with the man advantage in the series.
Granted, New York’s first power-play goal in Game 2 was the product of an unfortunate bounce off Jeremy Lauzon’s skate on a cross-ice pass attempt by Josh Bailey. Still, Boston’s PK hasn’t been as sharp after an excellent performance in the first round against the Washington Capitals.
The easiest solution? Stay out of the box, obviously. The Islanders, to their credit, have been opportunistic, taking a mile in the second period Monday when the Bruins gave them an inch. But it’s incumbent upon Boston to be more disciplined, especially given how dominant the B’s have been at even strength for the most part.
— Remember earlier this season when there were concerns about how inexperienced the Bruins were on the back end? Well, those questions about Boston’s defense are beginning to resurface.
Lauzon had a tough night, lowlighted, of course, by his costly turnover in overtime, which led to Casey Cizikas’ game-winning goal for the Islanders. Overall, it’s been a shaky three-game playoff stretch for Lauzon, and perhaps Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy should reevaluate his third D-pairing before Game 3.
The problem? There isn’t an obvious replacement for Lauzon alongside Connor Clifton, especially with Kevan Miller still sidelined and Jakub Zboril’s status uncertain.
Theoretically, Cassidy could call upon Jarred Tinordi or roll the dice with Urho Vaakanainen, but the former’s style isn’t the best fit against the Islanders’ vaunted forecheck and the latter more or less would represent a dart throw given how green he is at this stage of his career.
Lauzon’s inconsistency isn’t the only issue plaguing the Bruins’ blue line, either, as Brandon Carlo, typically a very reliable stay-at-home defender, needs to put the first two games of this series behind him. He’s had some trouble handling the puck and took a costly, albeit questionable, penalty in the second period of Game 2 that led to a J.G. Pageau goal.
— Tuukka Rask might really benefit from the extra day off between Games 2 and 3.
The Bruins goaltender had a weird performance Monday. He was awesome at certain points, particularly in the first period and early in overtime. But other times, it was fair to wonder whether he was operating at 100 percent, especially with him noting last Friday that his health isn’t as good as he’d like it to be.
Cassidy said after Monday’s game he wasn’t aware of Rask dealing with any physical issue. Still, it’s worth monitoring as we move forward in this series, especially with Cassidy also pointing out that Boston has “a very capable backup” should something unforeseen pop up.
— The Bruins’ “perfection line” sparked the team’s third-period comeback. Shocking, right?
The trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak continues to wreak havoc on opponents, with their collective skill matched only by the less tangible aspect of their contributions: Poise.
It never feels like the Bruins are totally out of any contest, thanks in large to that three-headed monster. And amazingly, the unit seemingly still is adding layers to its game after all these years.