The Islanders lost 3-2 to the Boston Bruins in their fifth and final exhibition of the 2011 preseason on Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.
John Tavares put the Islanders on the board with a power play goal at 11:28 of the first and Marty Reasoner, playing in his first exhibition of the preseason, scored at 6:48 of the second. After establishing a 2-0 lead in a strong first half with Al Montoya in the net, the Islanders lost their momentum through the middle.
Marty Reasoner scores at 6:48 of the second period against the Boston Bruins and is joined by Micheal Haley at the Webster Bank Arena on October 1, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“We had them on the ropes there,” said Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald. “We had a two-goal lead and we had a chance to get a third. We just couldn’t put it in and then they came back with two more. We have to be conscious of when they pick up their game, we have to pick ours up as well and play consistent for 60 minutes.”
The Bruins fought back, picked up the pace and recorded 16 shots on net in the second period, scoring two goals (David Krejci, Tyler Seguin) on goaltender Evgeni Nabokov within a 1:26 minute period. A third goal from Denis Seidenberg in the final stanza gave the Bruins the final margin.
“The first period, we played extremely well,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano. “The second period, what happens is, if you don’t change at the proper times, with the bench where it is, 30 seconds becomes a minute-and-a-half and (Boston) won the change game in the second period. That’s why the ice was tilted and they had their 16 shots and the momentum went their way.”
While Nabokov allowed all three goals in 30:17 of ice time, Capuano was pleased with the effort from both goaltenders.
“Al made some good saves. I thought Nabby made some great saves. Obviously, the second period was a period we didn’t play extremely well and he had to stand tall for us. (Boston had) a great shot inside the post and in and again, coverage on the 4-on-4, there was another good shot, so I thought both goaltenders played real well. They both gave us a chance to win the hockey game.”
Despite the loss, everyone seemed to take a lot of positives from the full-team effort. The game was intense and fast-paced. Players were flying up and down the ice in both directions, but the style of game the Islanders played is exactly what they’ve been preparing for all preseason.
Evgeni Nabokov makes a third period save against the Boston Bruins at the Webster Bank Arena on October 1, 2011. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
“We had a lot of speed in our game,” said Islanders forward PA Parenteau, who rejoined Tavares and Matt Moulson’s line Saturday night. “Every line brought something to the table tonight, scoring chances from every line. We played a real fast paced game and that’s what the coaching staff wants. That’s what this group should do because we have a lot of fast skaters. We got rewarded a few times.”
Despite a good effort, Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic knows letting up a 2-0 lead in this type of game can’t happen in the regular season, when you’re battling for two points.
“Come regular season, these are the games that we have to close out and we have to win,” Hamonic said. “You learn from situations and games like this and the beauty is that it was a preseason game. Now we have a week to prepare ourselves mentally and physically, get ourselves ready for next Saturday night.”
MacDonald returns to game action
The Islanders gained a strong and talented defenseman in Andrew MacDonald as he returned to the ice Saturday night for his first game since last March. Coming off a surgery and six months without a game, MacDonald was glad to get back on the ice, though he understandably thought he was a little rusty and said he became more comfortable as he received more ice time.
Capuano was pleased with MacDonald’s game.
“For Andrew, it was good to have him back in this game for sure,” Capuano said. “(Boston) had some of their guns dressed. We tried to match him up against (David) Krejci right off the bat to give those guys some time, so I was real pleased in the way Andrew played for not playing in training camp.”
His defensive partner was also glad to have him back on the ice.
“When I looked over in warm-up, we were kind of doing some of the little things and the quirks we do,” Hamonic said. “I think our friendship grows off the ice, but with our styles of play, it seemed like tonight we picked up right where we left off playing together last year. Andrew played a pretty good game.”
He added, “It was nice to see a very familiar face in the D line right beside me.”