Here are my Talking Points from the Bruins’ 4-0 shutout of the Islanders Saturday afternoon at The Barn:
GOLD STAR: Charlie McAvoy always seems to play well at home in front of family and friends on Long Island. He scored his fourth goal of the season to close out the scoring, and registered a season-high three points (one goal, two assists) in his 21:30 of ice time. McAvoy also had a plus-2 rating, a hit, a takeaway and a loud three blocked shots, playing strong and fast at both ends of the ice. The young defenseman was only a fight away from getting his second career Gordie Howe hat trick, but he thought wisely against that, with a chippy game well in hand. McAvoy finished February with four goals, 13 points and a plus-13 in 14 games this month.
BLACK EYE: We give Mat Barzal plenty of credit when he plays well against the Bruins, so it’s only fair that we BBQ him when he plays bad. In a fairly important game for the Islanders, he finished with no points and just two shots on net. Barzal had a rough four giveaways in the game ,and went 1-for-7 in the face-off circle. In short, he pretty much brought nothing to the table Saturday. Some of that was about the Bruins defense playing a heavy, hard brand of hockey against the Islanders best players. But some of it, too, was about Barzal having a plain no-good, very-bad day.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins jumped on the Islanders early in the game with two goals in the first period, and never looked back. The Islanders managed just four shots on net in the second period, but did get some pressure going in the third. And that’s when Tuukka Rask made his best saves of the game, including a stop of Jordan Eberle on a 2-on-2 rush after Eberle got outside on Torey Krug and managed a couple good chances. Rask stopped those before sitting on a loose puck in the crease, thwarting the Isles’ best chance at getting back in the game. Once the Bruins made it 3-0 in the third, it was all over.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand was engaged, effective and leading the way in terms of attitude against a heavy Islanders bunch, in what could have been a sleepy afternoon matinee on Long Island. He scored a pivotal wrap-around goal in the third period to put things out of reach after the Isles managed to hang around for the first 40-plus minutes. He also had a spirited a back-and-forth throughout the game with his old friend Leo Komarov that upped the game's intensity. Marchand finished with a goal, two points and a plus-3 in 17:21 of ice time that included six shot attempts and one blocked shot. But it was the wrap-around that put the nail in this one.
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of times that David Pastrnak has led off the scoring for the Bruins in a game this season. Only one player has done it more in a single season in NHL history. Hall of Famer Brett Hull did it twice, in 1990-91 (20 games) and 1991-92 (16 games).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you play solid defensively you get more chances offensively...we focused on our end of the ice first and then we were able to contribute at the other end.” –Torey Krug to reporters on a day where the B’s defensemen contributed a couple goals and seven points.