Bruin Escape Long Island with 2 Points and a Bitter Taste

The Bruins headed down to Long Island to face the Islanders, who have an NHL worst 28 points. The Isles had won just three games in their last 20, and it seemed that the Bruins came out in the first wondering how many goals they were going to win by instead of how they were going to win.

Simply put the Bruins were outplayed in the first period, being outshot 17-7 and giving the Islanders two power play opportunities. Thomas was on his game Thursday night, and was equal to all 17 shots in the first.

Marc Savard put the Bruins on the board first just 3:30 into the second frame. The “pass first” Savard had been exhibiting signs of becoming trigger happy, firing many low angle shots, perhaps due to the absence of passing target Phil Kessel. His reputation as a passer gave him an opportunity to put the puck in the net. The left hander was camped out in the trapezoid behind the net (Gretzky’s office), waiting for a passing lane to develop. When Islanders blue liner Brandon Witt seemed to focus his efforts on covering Chuck Kobasew in the high slot, Savard took his opportunity to step out, pivot, and fire a hard low angle shot that found the high short side hole in goaltender Yanin Danis.

Tim Thomas made 40 saves on 41 shots

Tim Thomas made 40 saves on 41 shots

After Savard briefly intensified the game, it became incredibly sloppy. Despite the win, it was probably the Bruins’ worst effort of the year, possibly even topping the catastrophic blown lead against Toronto at the Garden.

The Bruins’ played down to their opponents, and with the exception of the 4th line, the Bruins forward corps did not do their job. The first line didn’t forecheck, the second line of David Krejci, Blake Wheeler, and Michael Ryder had a minus +/- ranking for the first time in…well, quite some time now, and the third line were complete non factors, with the possible exception of Byron Bitz.

The game was utterly dull until a fortunate bounce led to a Bruins goal, and half of the remaining 1,000 fans to head for the exit. After a neutral zone turnover, Vladimir Sobotka found himself on a one-on-one with Islanders defender Witt. Sobotka unleashed his deceptively hard slap shot, and Witt managed to deflect it slightly, sending it over the net. Given the trajectory of the puck, it should have ended up in the corner, but caromed awkwardly back in front of the net for Marty St.Pierre to cleverly tuck into the top shelf of the net for a 2-0 lead at 6:51 of the third.

In a last ditch effort to get back in the game, the Islanders pulled Danis from the net for an extra attacker. With 54 seconds remaining in the game, ex, and possibly future Bruin Bill Guerin got a lucky bounce. Guerin tried to thread a tight pass from behind the net to a forward in the slot. Krejci was in good defensive position, and thus the puck bounced off his skate, redirecting it into the corner of the net (no, even Krejci doesn’t get a point for scoring on his own goal). The Bruins weathered the remainder of the exceedingly mild storm put forth by the 6 skater Islander attack, and escaped with a non-satisfying victory.

Kudos: Tim Thomas, 40 saves on 41 shots, raising his save percentage to a league leading .937. Also Manny Fernandez, who was back in uniform tonight, and may well have been the Bruins second best player

Sin Bin: Every Bruin player not wearing goalie pads with the exception of Petteri Nokelainen and Vladimir Sobotka.


One Response to “Bruin Escape Long Island with 2 Points and a Bitter Taste”

  1. First blog I read after wakeup from sleep today!

    Are you tension? panic?

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