New York Islanders

Bergeron notches second hat trick in six games

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Bergeron notches second hat trick in six games

GOLD STAR: Who else but Patrice Bergeron? The Bruins center finishes with three goals and his second hat trick in a span of six games, and now has 11 goals scored in his last 11 games during a wicked goal-scoring spree. Bergeron clearly wasn’t just about the goals as he also finished with four shots on net and won 12-of-18 face-offs in his 15:39 of ice time, but it’s amazing how he’s been able to get into so many great scoring positions while always facing the other team’s best defensive players. It speaks to just how good he is when he gets those chances in the slot, and how good both Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak are at getting the puck to him in the spots where he can do his offensive damage. Bergeron now has 19 goals on the season and continues to roll out some serious offensive numbers for a Bruins team that’s just destroying their opponents. Bergeron is the first Bruins player to score two hat tricks in the span of six games since Rick Tocchet did it in five games back in 1996 for the Black and Gold.

BLACK EYE: The Barclays Center shouldn’t be housing NHL hockey games, and thankfully won’t be in the near future when the Isles move out of Brooklyn. That being said, it had to demoralize whatever fans have made the move to Brooklyn to see so many Bruins hats get tossed on the ice from Boston fans after Bergeron scored his third goal of the game. The Islanders games have always felt like de facto home games for the Black and Gold given the huge contingent of B’s fans that make the trip to New York for these games. But it’s all the more of a gut punch when it turns into those road warrior Bruins fans loudly and animatedly celebrating goals, wins and hat tricks in front of the Islanders players and coaches. That’s a tough spot for them to be in during what’s supposed to be a strong home ice presence, but that’s life at a Barclays Center that makes me pine for Nassau Coliseum. 

TURNING POINT: The Bruins gave up the first goal of the game on a bad Brandon Carlo turnover in the D-zone, and it could have gone against them in the second night of a back-to-back on the road. But the Bruins dug in, reversed the momentum and instead found the Bergeron line to lead the way with their first goal scored in the game. After that they just continued to pour on the hard work, the offense and the Bergeron goals as he scored three overall and the Bruins rode the momentum wave into five goals and a strong finish in the third period. In two straight games the Bruins have given up the first goal, and it doesn’t even cause them to bat an eyelash. 

HONORABLE MENTION: On the second  night of a back-to-back game Zdeno Chara logged 25:32 of ice time, blocked four shots including a couple during a penalty kill that left him shaking his right hand in pain on the bench and threw three hits while holding the high-powered Islanders to just a couple of goals in the game. It wasn’t a particularly dazzling night of work for the 6-foot-9 defenseman, but the Isles really had limited offensive looks thanks to Chara playing big, strong and powerful in the defensive zone. The big ice time number is perhaps most impressive of all coming after Chara also played a big role in Boston’s win over the Habs at the Garden on Wednesday night. We’re still a long way away from Chara proving he can do this kind of thing night after night in the playoffs as a 40-year-old, but he showed a little something on Thursday night. 

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of consecutive games with a point for the Bruins as they’ve posted an 11-0-4 record over those games, and matched a 15-game point streak from the 2011-12 season in the year after they won the Cup. 

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I like the way we closed out the game in the third period. In a back-to-back there were issues at the beginning and ending of the game, and we fought through it and didn’t let the game get away from us. In the third period in their building they were going to make a push, and I thought we were really, really good in terms of generating the offense and keeping the puck away from the front of the net. I was proud of the guys for that. That was a good, strong finish.” –Bruce Cassidy to NESN postgame about what we liked most in the 5-2 win over the Isles. 

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Bergeron notches hat trick as Bruins defeat Islanders, 5-2

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Bergeron notches hat trick as Bruins defeat Islanders, 5-2

NEW YORK -- A day after going without a shot on goal, Patrice Bergeron regained his scoring touch for the rolling Boston Bruins.

Bergeron scored three goals Thursday night for his second hat trick in less than two weeks, leading Boston to a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders that gave the Bruins at least a point for the 15th consecutive game.

Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists as Boston improved to 11-0-4 since its last regulation loss Dec. 14 against Washington - its best stretch since going 15-0-1 from March 2-30, 2014.

Bergeron had at least three goals in a game for the third time in his career and just 12 days after a four-goal performance at home against Carolina. He hadn't scored since that five-point night, but had four assists in four games, including two in a win at home against Montreal on Wednesday night.

"Last game was one of those nights where I was trying to find my wingers," the 32-year-old center said. "Tonight I was getting the looks again and I was trying to take them."

With 19 goals in 39 games this season, Bergeron is on pace to eclipse his career high of 32 set two season ago.

"I feel like I'm shooting just as much, maybe I get some better looks and Brad is finding me a little bit more in the slot," Bergeron said. "Puck goes in sometimes and sometimes it doesn't, and right now it is so I'm going to try to keep shooting and keep trying to find the back of the net."

Ryan Spooner had a goal and an assist, and Anton Khudobin stopped 22 shots as the Bruins improved to 20-3-4 since Nov. 15 and pulled within five points of first-place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.

Jordan Eberle and John Tavares scored for New York, which has dropped seven of 10 - with each of the losses coming in regulation. Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves.

Bergeron completed the hat trick when he took a pass from Marchand, spun and fired from the left circle at 3:45 of the third period.

"When he's playing the way he is right now, it's fun to watch," Marchand said. "It's fun to be on the ice with him."

Tavares' 25th pulled the Islanders within two with about 5 1/2 minutes remaining. Marchand capped the scoring with his 20th, an empty-netter with just over a minute to go.

Boston took control with two goals in the second period and sealed it with two more in the third.

Spooner put Boston ahead 2-1 near the midpoint of the second. Off a faceoff in the Islanders' zone to Halak's left, Spooner backhanded the puck past the goalie for his seventh at 9:47.

Just 15 seconds after New York's Anders Lee was sent off for tripping, Bergeron got the puck on the right side after Torey Krug's shot went off Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech's leg and beat Halak with 6:11 left in the middle period. Krug got his 200th career point on the play.

"They got a break on the second goal," New York coach Doug Weight said. "The (power-play goal) slapped us in the face and we got away from our game. We got frustrated in the third (period)."

Eberle gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead 7:35 into the game when he beat Khudobin for his 15th. Mathew Barzal got his 32nd assist and 48th point on the play - both tops among all NHL rookies.

The Bruins tied it with 6:19 left in the first when Bergeron fired it past Halak from the inside edge of the right circle.

NOTES: Barzal has eight assists and 11 points in the last five games. ... Islanders F Josh Bailey, headed to his first All-Star game, returned to the lineup after missing four games with a lower-body injury. He had an assist on Tavares' goal. ... The Bruins swept the three-game season series, also winning 3-1 at home on Dec. 9 and 5-1 in New York on Jan. 2. ... Boston has won seven straight on the Islanders' home ice since a 3-1 loss at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 2, 2013. That includes five visits to Barclays Center, the Islanders' home since the start of the 2015-16 season. ... Bergeron has nine goals and 14 points in his last eight games. ... Marchand, the Bruins' leader in goals, assists and points, has five goals and nine assists in his last seven games.

UP NEXT

Bruins: At Montreal on Saturday to wrap a two-game trip.

Islanders: At Chicago on Saturday to open a three-game road trip heading into the All-Star break.

Five takeaways from Bruins-Islanders: Give a shout to B's fourth line

Five takeaways from Bruins-Islanders: Give a shout to B's fourth line

Here’s what we learned in the Bruins' 5-1 win over the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center on Tuesday night: 
 
1) The Bruins have a fourth line that’s playing as well as any combo they’ve had since the Merlot Line. They dominated for portions of the second and third periods with long, cycling puck-possession shifts that ended with shots on net and chances, and were finally rewarded with goals for both Tim Schaller and Noel Acciari in the third period. You thought the hockey gods might reward them for really wearing down the Islanders over the course of the game, and that’s exactly what happened. Even better, the dominant play by the fourth line allowed Bruce Cassidy to roll his lines and keep the minutes down for Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and company. Clearly it will depend on Acciari being able to say healthy and the Bruins remaining generally healthy up front so they can leave the fourth line intact, but it will be interesting to see how good this trio can become if they’re left together. Clearly some nights and some matchups will be better than others, but it would seem the B’s have truly found their energy line with just enough offensive upside to make it interesting. 
 
2) It might not be the worst thing in the world for Brandon Carlo to sit for a game or two at this point with Adam McQuaid waiting in the wings for a return. The Bruins had a lot of bright spots in their 5-1 win, but the play of Carlo wasn’t one of them. He had three giveaways, including a bad, bad turnover in front of his own net after a Patrice Bergeron face-off win. Carlo fumbled with the puck and then fell down, leaving the puck all alone in front for Jordan Eberle to push it past Tuukka Rask for a gift goal. Carlo didn’t do anything quite as bad in the rest of his 19:20 of ice time, but he's had some pretty costly mistakes for the Bruins at points this season. He's the most logical player to sit and at least get McQuaid in the mix with a game or two to get him back into the swing of things. Let’s also not forget that Torey Krug and McQuaid have been longtime partners at the NHL level, and that might be exactly the kind of stabilizing force that Krug could use on his right side. It’s at least worth thinking about, though it doesn’t make too much sense to do it after a winning team-wide effort like the one against the Isles.  
 
3)  The streak is over for Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. The Carlo turnovercame with that line on the ice, and so they’ve now given up their first even-strength goal of the season. That’s the bad news, but it’s still miraculous that it took somewhere around 24 or 25 games for that line combination to finally get scored on during 5-on-5 play The good news is that after a few quiet games that line got back on the score sheet on Tuesday night with Bergeron notching the game-winning goal in the second period, and Marchand adding his own score in the third period after a nifty defense-to-offense play for Pastrnak. The even better news: Because Cassidy was able to roll lines vs. the Isles, Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak all played under 16 minutes of ice time. That’s exactly the kind of in-game usage that will preserve those players for when it really matters later in the season. 

PLUS

-- Tim Schaller led his fourth-line cohorts with four shots on net, and was finally rewarded for his blue-collar efforts with a third-period goal along . Schaller finished with a goal and two points along with a plus-2 in 11:54 of ice time, and had several high quality chances before finally scoring. 
 
-- It wasn’t a dominant night for Bergeron, but he made the plays the Bruins needed at the crunch-time moments of the game. It was Bergeron with the heads-up play to bat a puck out of mid-air at the net, and direct it toward his stick where he was able to throw a shot at the skate of Jaroslav Halak. That was the go-ahead goal in the second period and the ultimate game-winner before Boston’s three goals in the third period. 
 
-- Tuukka Rask stopped 25 of 26 shots and made some very good positional saves, increasing his unbeaten streak to 11-0-1 since his mid-November benching. Once again the Bruins were also mostly brilliant in front of him, and have been a big part of Rask’s up-turn in play. 

MINUS

-- Brandon Carlo had three giveaways including a ghastly turnover right in front of the net after a clean Bergeron face-off win in the defensive zone. That led to the Isles only goal and was the only blemish in an otherwise strong night for the Bruins.
 
-- John Tavares was really not good. He finished a minus-3, lost the face-off to Riley Nash cleanly that led to Danton Heinen’s goal off a draw play in the first period and managed just a single shot on net for the entire game. It’s tough for the Isles to win when that happens. 
 
-- New York is missing a number of players on the back end, and that was obvious while watching Scott Mayfield struggle to a minus-3 in 21:15 of ice time while getting over-exposed a bit. It will be a struggle for the Islanders until they get healthier on the back end. 

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