The Islanders closed out 2013 in style, scoring four power-play goals en route to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
The power play was white hot, converting four of its first six opportunities, and was the prime catalyst for the Islanders second comeback win in as many games.
John Tavares led the charge with four points (two goals, two assists), while Kyle Okposo had a goal and an assist and Frans Nielsen scored two power-plays goals. With the win, the Islanders have taken four straight road games.
“We found a way to win tonight and the power play came up huge,” Okposo said. “We made good plays, got back to out-manning guys, moved [the puck] around and didn’t force anything. When they were tired, we capitalized.”
Trailing 3-1 with 3:55 to play in the second period, a slew of Bruins penalties allowed the Islanders to get back into the game. WithTorey Krug in the box, Nielsen scored his second power-play goal – a fortuitous bounce off a skate in the slot that he poked in – cutting the deficit to one.
Then in the dying seconds of the second period, Kyle Okposo’s centering feed from below the goal line deflected off Brad Marchand to tie the score at three. That goal also came on the power play, asTuukka Rask had been whistled for shooting the puck over the glass.
The Islanders didn’t slow down after the second intermission, as Tavares scored the first of his two goals 32 seconds into the third period. Tavares’ goal came at even strength on another strange play, as his shot from behind the goal line hit Rask in the back and went in.
Tavares added an insurance marker on the man advantage at 13:17 of the third, blasting a slap shot through the Bruins netminder. The Islanders ended the game with a four-minute power play, as Milan Lucic was called for boarding and unsportsmanlike conduct, while also earning a 10 minute misconduct.
“Even though we didn’t have a great start, we stuck with it,” Tavares said. “Down by a goal on the road isn’t the worst thing in the world. We turned the page and did a better job in the second period. We got our legs going and it was good to see the power play come through in a big way.”
The Bruins broke the ice early, as David Krejci banged in a Jarome Iginla rebound at 4:25 of the first period. The Islanders didn’t get on the board until the second period, when Nielsen scored the first of his two goals, one-timing a Tavares pass through a Thomas Vanek-screen. The Bruins answered Nielsen’s first with two goals from Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille in a 25-second span. Bergeron one-timed a power-play goal from the slot, while Paille deflected a Zdeno Chara shot past Evgeni Nabokov, who was caught picking up his stick off the ice.
“We started out slow again for some reason,” Nielsen said. “But we kept going and kept believing. We didn’t give it back once we got the lead.”
Nabokov shut the door for the Islanders after the Paille goal, making 35 saves in the win, while Rask allowed five goals on 31 shots in the loss.
The Islanders closed out 2013 with two straight wins and will open 2014 against the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Kyle Okposo extended his point streak to seven games (5g/6a) and posted back-to-back three point games… ThomasVanek and Andrew MacDonald each had two assists… Vanek extended his point streak to six games (3g/6a)… Colin McDonald and Matt Martin led the Islanders with six hits… The Islanders are 7-0-1 in their last eight games on New Year’s Eve.