Talking Points: Early exit for Rask vs. Islanders
Give it to Anders Lee, who has been red-hot for the Islanders over the last month even as the team has struggled to get points, and chipped in with a big two-goal performance for New York in the win. Lee has seven goals and 10 points over his last nine games, and now has a new career-high in points after registering his 16th point of the season. Lee found all the offense on his own as he forced the collision between Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask that created the first empty net goal for himself. He also finished off with the Bruins with a gritty, back-breaking power play goal while camped out in front in the third period. Truth be told, the Bruins could use a little more of what Lee was bringing to the table by attacking the net and creating his own offense.
Tuukka Rask has been phenomenal this season for the Bruins, but he just didn’t have it against the Islanders. It makes you acutely aware of just how dependent the B’s are on their No. 1 goalie being superhuman every night because they couldn’t beat one of the worst teams in the NHL when he wasn’t on his game. Whether it was Rask and Brad Marchand colliding behind the net on New York’s first goal or his inability to shut off the post on the eventual game-winning goal in the second period, Rask was sloppy and off his mark. He ended up allowing three goals on 13 shots before he was pulled midway through the second period, and then watched Anton Khudobin finish things off after the B’s dug themselves a 3-0 hole.
The Bruins were done in by their first period, which included the Patrice Bergeron line on ice for a pair of goals against with Tuukka Rask also faltering to add an even higher degree of difficulty for the Black and Gold. The Bruins took too long to recover from a simple gaffe when Brad Marchand and Rask ran into each other behind the B’s net, and Anders Lee picked up the loose puck to stuff into the empty net. Less than three minutes later the Bergeron line again surrendered a goal, and the B’s offense started settling for perimeter shots and outside chances when it was going to take gritty goals to mount a comeback. Once the Bruins had essentially proven they weren’t ready to play, the game was over almost before it even started.
While it wasn’t enough to get the Bruins in the winner’s circle, let’s give Anton Blidh for playing his best game in the NHL as he continues to grow in confidence and effectiveness as a fourth line player. Blidh started the third period comeback when he fired a puck from a bad angle that bounced into the Isles net after ricocheting off Nick Leddy’s leg, and gave the B’s fourth line another goal to add to a very productive season. Blidh finished with five shots on net, eight total shot attempts and three hits in 11:20 of ice time to go along with his goal and plus-1 rating. Blidh is also making it more and more difficult for the Bruins coaching staff to take him out of the lineup given his energetic play and the sneaky production he’s providing.
BY THE NUMBERS
95 – the number of shot attempts for the Bruins, which indicates a serious donut problem for a B’s offense that could only muster up two goals. There is way too much settling for the outside, perimeter shots going on, and nothing in the middle for a Black and Gold group that needs to find ways to get to the front of the net.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"We didn't show up for the first two periods and we paid for it.” – Patrice Bergeron, pretty succinct and to the point with a lackluster start to the game that doomed the Bruins to a regulation loss against a sad Isles bunch.