The New York Islanders took a point from the Boston Bruins tonight in a 4-3 shootout loss. The Islanders’ offense took over the second period with three straight goals coming from Jon Sim, Radek Martinek and John Tavares. In the third, Boston mounted their comeback, starting with Savard’s second goal of the season and then Byron Bitz and Matt Hunwick tallying goals to even the score at three. Blake Wheeler and Rob Schremp traded shootout tallies but it was Savard’s goal on Boston’s third attempt to give the Bruins the extra point.
In the opening period, the Islanders and Bruins both traded power-play opportunities but the period’s best scoring chance came with less than a minute to play. Milan Lucic fed a pass from the bottom of the right circle to Marco Sturm parked in the high slot that left Islanders’ starting goalie Dwayne Roloson out of position to make a save. Sturm one-timed the pass on goal but it was Blake Comeau giving up his body to block the shot and keep the game scoreless through the first 20 minutes of play.
Sim opened the scoring 4:04 into the second period while the Islanders were on the man-advantage. Schremp sent a turn-around shot from the left circle on net that Bruins’ starting goalie, Tuukka Rask made the save on. Rask could not control the rebound as the puck fell loose in the crease where Sim was stationed and back-handed his first goal of the season off the cross-bar and in to give the Islanders the 1-0 lead. Kyle Okposo also had an assist on Sim’s first goal of the season.
The save of the game came at just about the halfway mark of the middle frame when Dwayne Roloson robbed Bruins’ forward Marco Sturm. While on the power-play, Sturm danced around an Islander defenseman in the right circle and wristed a shot destined for the far corner but Roloson challenged Sturm, snatching his shot out of the air to keep the score at 1-0 in favor of the Islanders.
The Islanders would go up 2-0 with 7:18 remaining in the second. Mark Streit settled the play down in the Boston zone, faking several shots and forcing the Bruins’ defense to attempt to block them. Streit walked across the blue-line then fed a quick pass to Martinek who snuck in from his point position in the right circle. Martinek took the pass and snapped a shot over Rask’s glove for his fist tally of the season. John Tavares extended his point-scoring streak to three straight games with the second assist on the play.
Tavares would show off his goal-scoring prowess three minutes later as he ripped his second goal of the season past Rask for the 3-0 Islander lead. Freddy Meyer made a great play on a Boston two-on-one to break up the rush and poke the puck to Tavares in the neutral zone. Tavares turned the other way on an Islander two-on-one with Matt Moulson. The Islander leading scorer looked to pass then snapped a shot over Rask’s glove for his second marker this season and fifth point in three games.
Savard put the Bruins on the board with eight minutes remaining in the third period, snapping Roloson’s bid for his first shutout in an Islanders’ uniform. Lucic started the play in the far corner, centering a pass to Zdeno Chara in front. The 6’9 defenseman missed on the one-time chance but the puck came to Savard in the right circle where he snapped a shot over Roloson’s left shoulder for his second goal of the season. The Bruins tightened the score to 3-2 with less than five minutes to play in regulation time. Bitz streaked into the Islanders’ zone and back-handed a shot past Roloson for his first goal of the season. Steve Begin and Matt Hunwick had the assists on the goal.
Capping the Bruin comeback and sending the game to overtime was Hunwick, tying the score at three with a seeing-eye wrister from the left point. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ference had the assists on Hunwick’s second marker of the season coming at 17:26.
Neither team was able to score the winner in overtime so the game went to a shootout. Wheeler opened the scoring in the shootout but Schremp would answer for the Islanders, sliding a back-hand past Rask to even the score at 1-1. In the second round, Roloson and Rask denied their opposing shooters but it was Savard who converted the Bruins’ final attempt to win the game for the Bruins, 4-3.
Tomorrow afternoon (noon), the Islanders will have practice at Iceworks in Syosset. This is the first team practice that will be open to season ticket holders.
The Islanders will return home tonight and prepare for their Monday afternoon matchup with the Los Angeles Kings at 2 p.m. For tickets or information on any of the Islanders’ upcoming promotions, contact the team’s front office at (516) 501-6700.
1. Marc Savard – Scores a goal in regulation and the winner in the shootout
2. John Tavares – Adds to his team lead in scoring with a goal and an assist
3. Jon Sim – Takes a beating in front of the net but scores his first goal of the season
Honorable Mention: Radek Martinek – Scores his first goal of the season
Injury Update: This morning, the Islanders placed right wing, Trent Hunter on the IR for 2-4 weeks with a strained pectoral. After competing in the Sound Tigers 4-3 victory over the Worcester Sharks last night in Bridgeport, Rechlicz drove up to Boston to join the Islanders this morning. Doug Weight was also out of the Islanders lineup tonight with a sore groin. The good news is Frans Nielsen is getting better and has started skating after his minor knee surgery last month.
Go Johnny Go Go: Islander first round draft pick, John Tavares has been everything the deal could have hoped for through the first three games. The Islander center-man has two goals and three assists for five points throughout his first three NHL games. Paired on a line with Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson, the Islanders top unit is clicking on all cylinders.
Breaking the Streak: Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask came into tonight’s contest having not allowed a goal in 86:45, but that number would stop at 90:41 as Jon Sim back-handed his first goal of the season past the young Boston net-minder. The last goal he surrendered before tonight was to Montreal Canadiens forward Mathieu Dandenault on December 6, 2007.
Springfield to Providence: For Islanders winger Rob Schremp, he has come to know the tendencies of Tuukka Rask after playing against him the last two years in the AHL. Rask was in Providence and Schremp was in Springfield, Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. With Providence and Springfield belonging to the same division, the two young prospects have played against each other 16 times over the past two seasons.
26 Matt Moulson – 91 John Tavares – 21 Kyle Okposo
13 Rob Schremp – 12 Josh Bailey – 16 Jon Sim
20 Sean Bergenheim – 10 Richard Park – 57 Blake Comeau
28 Tim Jackman – 11 Nate Thompson – 40 Joel Rechlicz
2 Mark Streit – 24 Radek Martinek
32 Brendan Witt – 8 Bruno Gervais
44 Freddy Meyer – 25 Andy Sutton
30 Dwayne Roloson (starter)
43 Martin Biron
16 Marco Sturm – 91 Marc Savard – 17 Milan Lucic
28 Mark Recchi – 37 Patrice Bergeron – 12 Chuck Kobasew
26 Blake Wheeler – 46 David Krejci – 73 Michael Ryder
61 Byron Bitz – 27 Steve Begin – 22 Shawn Thornton
33 Zdeno Chara – 53 Derek Morris
21 Andrew Ference – 6 Dennis Wideman
48 Matt Hunwick – 45 Mark Stuart
40 Tuukka Rask (starter)
30 Tim Thomas
1 - 0 NYI
2 - 0 NYI
3 - 0 NYI
3 - 1 NYI
3 - 2 NYI
3 - 3 Tie
Hi stick - double minor