Talking Points: Nash leads the way with two goals
With the Bruins in need of a good team win, who better than fourth line grinder Riley Nash to lead the way. Nash scored both of Boston’s goals and they both came at huge moments for the Black and Gold. The first arrived on the very next shift after Boston had given up a goal to John Tavares in the first period, and happened when Nash stole a puck from Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and beat Thomas Greiss short-side on an unassisted strike. The second was the game-winner in the third period when Dominic Moore fed him a good pass, and then watched as Nash joined the rush, cut through the Isles defense and then snapped it past Greiss for his seventh goal of the season. Nash finished with two goals, a plus-2 rating, two blocked shots, two takeaways and 2-for-4 in the face-off circle in 15:20 of ice time.
It’s hard to find much blame in a game where both sides really embraced the gritty side of the game, and seemed to play as tight as they could with the points on the line looming so importantly. But the most egregious mistake in the game was probably the Scott Mayfield turnover right after the Islanders goal. Riley Nash simply stripped the puck from the Islanders defenseman in the neutral zone, and quickly tied up the game on a hugely important momentum shift for Boston. That’s probably why Mayfield only played 9:08 of ice time for the entire game, and essentially pushed New York into going with five defensemen for long portions of the game.
The Bruins appeared ready to pull away in the first period when Frank Vatrano scored on a second effort PP rebound in front of the net. Boston's lead was short-lived when it was challenged by the Islanders bench. The officials ruled that David Backes interfered with Thomas Greiss even though he was clearly pushed into the crease by an Islanders defenseman, and took the goal down off the board. That could have been enough to knock down a Bruins team in a fragile state while sending them into a mini-tailspin, but tonight the B’s held strong, fought through and waited for their chance in the third period.
Anton Khudobin won his fifth game in a row while stopping 18 shots, and not making a single mistake after the early John Tavares goal that was fired through Adam McQuaid’s legs from the high slot. Khudobin never made more than seven saves in any period of the hockey game, but he was battling and competing in between the pipes and fighting to track the puck all over the ice. Khudobin even threw the double-pad stack at Tavares again in the third period when the Isles sniper was coming in with speed on a NY power play, and perhaps helped coax Tavares into lifting his scoring bid harmlessly off the crossbar. The Bruins needed Khudobin to step up with Tuukka Rask out of the picture and did exactly that.
BY THE NUMBERS
0-for-6 – the Islanders power play couldn’t come through in six chances as the Bruins penalty kill returned to form, and helped the B’s take home a win that was gritty, imperfect and full of character.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"That’s the type of win that goes a long way in the room when your goaltender is fighting and battling hard to see pucks & your D are blocking shots, and you have to kill that many penalties. It’s a nice building block for us.” – Bruce Cassidy, on a good 2-1 team win for the Bruins in a must-win situation vs. the Islanders.