Bruins

Why Bruins should remain optimistic entering Game 3 vs. Islanders

Bruins

BOSTON -- The Bruins played well enough to win Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the Islanders on Monday night, but a couple unfortunate bounces and a lack of discipline cost the B's in a 4-3 overtime loss.

Still, there wasn't anything that should overly concern the Bruins as the series shifts to Nassau Coliseum for Game 3 on Thursday night.

A bunch of the issues from Monday night can be fixed fairly quickly, such as poor decisions with the puck, an inconsistent effort level, taking bad penalties, etc.

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There's also a little thing called puck luck, and the Bruins had none of it in Game 2.

Three of the Islanders' four goals came off a fortunate bounce of the puck, including the game-winner in overtime. Jeremy Lauzon's D-to-D pass bounced off Charlie Coyle's skate and gave Casey Cizikas a breakaway that he took advantage of to even the series at one win apiece.

It was the second unlucky break for Lauzon in the game. Josh Bailey scored on a second-period Islanders power play when his pass across the front of the net deflected off Lauzon's skate and past B's goalie Tuukka Rask.

"They're a good team. They're going to have their pushes. Couple bad breaks on a few of their goals, but that's hockey," Bruins center Charlie Coyle said after the game.

"It's a game of inches and sometimes you get bad breaks. That's the way it goes sometimes. It's how you respond. We've got to respond now and get the next one, that's all."

 

Brandon Carlo was whistled for cross checking in the second period after getting tangled up with Islanders winger Leo Komarov. It was a pretty weak call on Carlo, and the Islanders capitalized on the ensuing power play for a 3-1 lead.

"They got some good bounces. Let's face it. First goal goes off our skate. Last goal hit our skate and gives them a breakaway. Sometimes you have to be fortunate in this game, too," Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said.

"They took advantage of the last good bounce. We had a stick break that put us on the PK late in the game, too, another unfortunate break for us. Sometimes that's the way it goes. You've got to persevere and I thought we did. Did a great job with it."

Three takeaways from Bruins' Game 2 loss

Despite the lack of puck luck and the Islanders scoring two goals on three power-play opportunities, the Bruins easily could have won the game and probably should've.

They were the better team in the first period. Coyle got the scoring started 2:48 into the game and B's goalie Tuukka Rask made five or six key saves to preserve the 1-0 lead entering the intermission.

The second period was one of the sloppiest 20 minutes of hockey the B's have played all season. Multiple penalties led to two Islanders goals on the power play and the Bruins' facing a multi-goal deficit for the first time in this playoff run. Boston also had trouble clearing the puck out of the defensive zone in that second period.

Boston rebounded and dominated in the third period, scoring twice to erase a 3-1 deficit and earning a 10-3 edge in scoring chances at 5-on-5. The B's top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak generated plenty of good looks at the net in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Bergeron scored to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 9:26 remaining and Marchand's game-tying power-play tally five minutes later paved the way for OT.

The Bruins have been the better team in this series through two games. They are controlling the majority of play 5-on-5 in regards to both shot metrics and goals scored, and their power play continues to generate quality chances and find the back of the net.

Now it's the Bruins' turn to respond after a loss. They played with tremendous energy and purpose in the third period with their backs against the wall and put themselves in a position to win the game. That's the kind of pace the Bruins must display for a full 60 minutes if they're going to take a 2-1 series lead Thursday night.

"It's not the end of the world. It's 1-1 and we've just got to worry about that next one," Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. "It's all about how we regroup in here and move forward. That's the thing about the playoffs: You've got to be kind of like an elephant and have a quick memory."