The Islanders withstood a flurry of pressure in the final minute of the third period and held on to win two much needed points beating the Boston Bruins 3-2 at TD Garden Saturday afternoon.
Evgeni Nabokov’s paddle saved the game for the Islanders as Milan Lucic had a point-blank chance in the final 20 seconds. The Islanders also showed resolve by protecting their one-goal lead for the final 4:39 against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
“When you come into this building and you play a team like the Boston Bruins and you win a hockey game, it’s a total team effort,” Jack Capuano said.
The game-winner was the result of a confusing icing play in the third period. Neither team knew what happened on the negated icing, but Matt Moulson took the initiative and skated the puck up the ice.
“I couldn’t really see what happened,” Moulson said. “The linesman looked like he was in better position. I picked it up with some speed in case it wasn’t icing and obviously it wasn’t.”
John Tavares wound up tipping home Moulson’s slap shot, and his 28th goal of the season held up as the game-winner.
“I just went to the net and Matt made a great shot,” Tavares said. “I just tried to screen the goalie and got a piece of my stick on it. It changed direction and I’m happy it went in.”
In the first period, Lucic opened the scoring on a power play goal beating Nabokov upstairs on the short side. It was the fourth time in five games that the Islanders allowed a power play goal.
“They were pretty physical with Lucic out there,” Nabokov said. “He was all over the place. But I thought we responded well and scored timely goals.”
The Islanders answered back before the end of the period as Josh Bailey scored the Isles first goal for the third straight game. Bailey has four goals in his last three games on the new-look, potent second line. Linemate Frans Nielsen has four assists in three games since centering Bailey.
In the second period, the Islanders took the lead with a power play goal at 15:35. Moulson provided a net presence and buried a pass from Tavares past Tim Thomas who relieved Tuukka Rask, who left with an injury, in the second period. Tyler Seguin rounded out the scoring with a breakaway goal at 7:29 of the third period.
The Isles special teams were successful on Saturday, as the power play went 1-3 and the penalty kill went 4-5. The Isles best penalty killer, Nabokov, turned aside 32 of 34 shots while Thomas and Rask combined for 22 saves on 25 shots.
“I thought special teams were a huge factor,” Capuano said. “Our PK came up big for us and there was a big power play that Mouls got for us. Overall it was a solid effort.”
The Islanders begin a three-game series against the New Jersey Devils starting at Nassau Coliseum on Sunday at 3 p.m.