What the scoreboard didn’t show in the Islanders 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on Thursday was the spirit that Islanders played with from the second period on.
“The resilience, how we came out in the second and third against a pretty good Boston Bruins team, I thought we had some kids that played pretty good,” Islanders Interim Head Coach Jack Capuano said.
It was the first period struggle again, as the Bruins took a 1-0 lead on Milan Lucic’s goal at 14:00. But the second period was different.
Coming out of the locker room renewed, the Isles pressured and outshot the Bruins 17-9. They got on the board at 3:41 when Frans Nielsen, who was tripped as he came to the Bruins crease, was awarded a penalty shot. He used his shootout move to beat Tuukka Rask glove side. Nielsen’s goal was the second time this season that he’s scored on a shorthanded penalty shot.
But momentum changed in an unfortunate circumstance as Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro left the crease to stop a shorthanded breakaway and he mishandled the puck sending Bruins forward Brad Marchand through the Islanders defensive zone to regain possession, eventually sliding the puck into the net to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead over the Islanders at 14:40.
“I just came out to clear the puck and I beat him to it,” DiPietro said about the Bruins go-ahead goal. “It was the right idea, but bad execution.”
“It’s either a breakaway or he thinks he can get the puck,” said Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano, dismissing whether or not DiPietro was to blame for the go-ahead goal. “But he was our best player. In the first period they could have been up two or three goals. I thought he dominated the game and played extremely well.”
Capuano continued to explain the play that it was just more bad breaks for the Islanders.
“We go from John Tavares having a great opportunity on the back door of a shot from the point on the power play and ten seconds later it’s in the back of our net,” Capuano said. “Those are some tough bounces for the hockey club.”
With all the “tough bounces” the Islanders still forged on, not quitting in the third period. Even after Michael Ryder scored with one second left on the power play (14:16) to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead, it wasn’t over.
DiPietro was pulled at and the empty net goal bug struck again as Lucic and Patrice Bergeron both scored at 18:57 and 19:55 respectively, providing the final margin.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve been proud of the guys,” Capuano said. “We’ve been a pretty hard working team and we’ve been getting our chances. We’re just not getting the wins or getting rewarded. So hopefully this turns for these guys sooner or later because they deserve it.”
Despite allowing two power play goals and one shorthanded goal, the Islanders played well on special teams, earning their own share of opportunities, and had a second opportunity on the shorthanded breakaway after Jack Hillen was called for tripping at 2:30.
Konopka and Adam McQuaid got the teams riled up at 8:22 when they dropped the gloves in the neutral zone, closest to the penalty box. Even though McQuaid has four inches on Konopka, who stands at 6’0”, the fight ended in a draw as the referees stepped in. In the second period Trevor Gillies also had the chance to mix things up as he fought with Shawn Thornton at 7:51.
“It’s tough because I should have put that one in,” Tavares said about his rebound attempt which resulted in the turnover and gave the Bruins the go-ahead goal. “It’s unbelievable how it works out. Obviously I have to get better there and find a way to put it in.”
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