Bruins Notes: Boston Flashes Trademark Resilience In Dramatic Game 2 Loss

The B's nearly pulled off an impressive comeback against the Islanders

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The Boston Bruins and New York Islanders can retreat to their respective corners after Game 2 knowing they’re likely in for a knock-down, drag-out fight in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Bruins, who delivered the first haymaker Saturday by way of a 5-2 victory in Game 1, once again drew first blood Monday night at TD Garden, with Charlie Coyle scoring in the opening period.

But the Islanders responded with a flurry of counterpunches in the second period. And although Boston battled back in the third period to force overtime, New York ultimately outlasted its worthy opponent when Casey Cizikas took advantage of an ill-advised pass by Jeremy Lauzon and scored a breakaway goal in the extra frame to lift the Islanders to a 4-3 win.

“We’re two even teams,” Bruins winger Brad Marchand told reporters during a video conference after the game. “We both compete hard. We’re both gonna have looks and opportunities. It’s gonna be a tight series and we know that.”

There was no shortage of drama in Game 2, thanks in large to a goaltending change, several weird bounces and huge momentum swings. It’s clear this series won’t be a cakewalk for either team.

Here are some notes from Boston’s Game 2 loss.

— The Islanders made a change between the pipes after Ilya Sorokin allowed four goals — and a bunch of juicy rebounds — in the Bruins’ Game 1 win.

Semyon Varlamov drew the start Monday, and although it nearly blew up in Barry Trotz’s face when Boston scored early, the 33-year-old netminder settled down and ultimately rewarded his coach’s faith with a very strong performance.

Varlamov stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced while demonstrating far better puck control than the man he replaced.

“He’s been a rock for us all year,” Trotz told reporters after the game. “I hope he gets a ton of votes for the Vezina, at least be a finalist, because he’s been one of our MVPs this year.”

— Tuukka Rask made just six saves in the first period, but it sure seemed like more. The Islanders generated a few good scoring chances against the Bruins goalie, who was up to the task, allowing Boston to carry a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

Then, it seemed like Rask began to labor as the game progressed, although Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was unaware of any physical issue.

“Well, he finished the game, so I assume he’s OK,” Cassidy told reporters during his postgame video conference. “If he wasn’t, he would’ve told us. We have a very capable backup. So I assume he’s fine. We’ll have that discussion later. We don’t play until Thursday, so he’ll have time to rest if there is something going on.”

— The second period belonged to the Islanders. Not only did they score three goals to build a 3-1 lead. They also executed their brand of hockey — a relentless forecheck and a willingness to crash the dirty areas — to a tee, enabling them to control the pace for the first time all series.

Conversely, the Bruins were undisciplined and sloppy with the puck.

“To me, second periods are momentum periods,” Cassidy said. “It’s probably why, I’m going to guess, it’s the highest-scoring period throughout the league — because when you get momentum going throughout the second period, it’s tough to get a line change. You either have to ice the puck or get a clean breakout, and you’re usually fatigued if you’re stuck in your end. And that’s what happened. We didn’t execute below the goal line, we didn’t win our wall battles to get some pressure the other way.”

— Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron — surprise, surprise — stepped up in the third period with the game on the line, scoring a goal apiece to tie the score 3-3.

It was the latest evidence of the Bruins’ resilience, which has been a hallmark of the franchise under its current core.

“We have a lot of character in our group, in our room, and we know when we get behind, we can come back,” Marchand told reporters during his postgame video conference. “Especially in playoff time, you can never count a team out. It doesn’t matter who it is. You see it all the time. Teams coming back from multiple-goal deficits. It’s part of the game. If you wanna go deep and you wanna make a run, you’ve got to be able to come back and battle through adversity. Unfortunately, we battled back but didn’t get that final goal. But again, we’ve just got to worry about the next one now.”

— Marchand, who had a goal and an assist, now has 101 career playoff points, moving him into fifth place on the Bruins’ all-time playoff points list.

Marchand’s 41 career playoff goals are good for fourth-most in franchise history.

— Bergeron passed Rick Middleton and now is tied with Phil Esposito for second place on the Bruins’ all-time playoff goals list with 46. Cam Neely owns the record with 55.

— Coyle, who now has 21 goals in his playoff career, also praised the fight Boston showed in its third-period comeback despite the overtime loss.

“There’s never any quit in here, especially playoff time,” Coyle told reporters after the game. “You stick to it, get back to what we’re doing well. They’re gonna have their pushes. They’re a good team. It’s how we respond and having that next-shift mentality to come out and swipe back in our direction, have a good shift, wear them down in the opposite end and we capitalize. And that shows no quit.

“At the end of the day, we want to take that game and we don’t. So what do we do from here? We prepare for that next one, playing in their building, and we’re gonna be excited, ready to go, and have some adjustments, as well. But we’ll be ready to go.”

— Bruins second-line winger Craig Smith missed the game after suffering an injury in Game 1. As expected, Jake DeBrusk moved up to the second line alongside David Krejci and Taylor Hall.

— Islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury suffered in Game 5 of New York’s first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. His status for Game 3 against Boston remains unclear.

Boston Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon, New York Islanders forward Casey Cizikas
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