The New York Islanders were unable to sweep the season series from the Boston Bruins, falling 6-3 in the series finale Monday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Kyle Okposo’s three-point night (one goal, two assists) had the Isles locked in a 3-3 tie, but Carl Soderberg broke the deadlock with 32.7 seconds to play in the second period and the Bruins followed up with two in the third period.
“We battled back and were right where we wanted to be,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “That’s a big goal for them to end the period and then we couldn’t respond with a power play to start the period.”
Patrice Bergeron’s hooking penalty at the end of the second gave the Islanders a full two-minute power play to open the third period. Unable to convert with the man advantage, Bergeron scored 17 seconds after the penalty expired, putting the Bruins up 5-3. Bergeron finished the night with a goal and an assist, while linemate Brad Marchand had a four-point game (1g/3a).
“Being down two goals in the third period, it’s not the easiest thing to do to come back against a team like that,” Matt Martin said.
The Islanders did keep the game close through 39 minutes, coming back from three, one-goal deficits. The Bruins blitzed the Islanders out of the gate, outshooting the home team 18-1 by the 12-minute mark, but the Islanders responded, outshooting the Bruins 11-0 in the final eight minutes. Okposo sent a slap pass to Frans Nielsen, who knocked in his own rebound at 15:29 to tie the score at one.
“We came out sluggish… and obviously weren’t having a good first 10 minutes,” Okposo said. “We controlled the second half of that first period and then the second period I thought we played well. At the end of the day we have to put it all in, bury some chances and clean up a few things in the d-zone."
The Islanders closed the shot gap early in the second, but Marchand got open behind Andrew MacDonald and finished off a back-door play from Bergeron to put the Bruins ahead. Again, the Islanders came back, as Michael Grabner tied the score on a delayed penalty call at 8:20 with a snapshot from the slot.
Four minutes later, Reilly Smith put the Bruins up 3-2, but the see-saw battle continued, as Okposo finished off a two-on-zero rush with Grabner for the tying goal.
After the Bruins took the first two-goal lead, Zdeno Chara rounded out the scoring at 8:12 of the third, as his point shot fooled Kevin Poulin. The point was Chara’s 500th and effectively put the game out of the reach for the Islanders. Evgeni Nabokov relieved Poulin for the remainder of the game, for the veteran goalie’s first action since suffering a lower-body injury on Jan. 6.
The Islanders wrap up a three-game set at Nassau Coliseum and conclude their four-game homestand Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium against the New York Rangers. The puck drops on the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: Lubomir Visnovsky played for the first time since suffering a concussion on Oct. 19. Visnovsky was paired with Thomas Hickey, played on the top power-play unit and 22:08 TOI… Hickey led all players with three takeaways… John Tavares led the Islanders with 23:03 TOI… Michael Grabner had a goal and an assist in the loss… The Islanders went 43-27 (61%) in the faceoff dot.
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