[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Bruins and Islanders met for the first time this season on Tuesday night and the Isles, like most of the teams the B’s have faced off against in the past few weeks, headed into the matchup struggling to put it all together as a team. While the Bruins entered Tuesday with an 11-2-2 start, the Islanders were sitting in the basement of the Atlantic Division with an 8-10-1 record.
Early on, it looked like the Bruins might be in for an easy night as they dominated play for the first handful of minutes, showing great patience and exhibiting impressive puck movement in the offensive zone. After a flurry of early chances, that patience paid off and the Bruins, as they’ve done so often on this road trip, grabbed the early lead. Adam McQuaid was able to grab his first goal of the season with a slap shot from the point, made possible by a nice feed from Tyler Seguin and a solid screen in front of the net by Brad Marchand. 1-0 Bruins
The Bruins, and most notably the Kelly-Peverley-Bourque third line, continued to put forth a strong offensive effort and create scoring chances throughout the first period while Tuukka Rask made some very impressive saves in net on the other end. But a defensive lapse with just under five minutes left to go in the opening period allowed the Islanders to pull even before the first intermission. Josh Bailey was able to stickhandle around Dennis Seidenberg and feed a backhanded pass to Casey Cizikas in the slot, and Cizikas was able to lift the puck over a sprawling Rask to even the score. 1-1
The tie didn’t last long once the puck was dropped to open the second period, as Brad Marchand sniffed out his tenth goal of the season and extended his point streak to four straight games just thirty-eight seconds into the second. Andrew Ference put the puck on net hard enough to force a rebound from Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov and Marchand was able to backhand the juicy gift home for the 2-1 Bruins lead.
The Bruins top line was able to net the prettiest goal of the game about five minutes later when Zdeno Chara fed a long pass to a streaking Nathan Horton. After carrying it into the zone and quickly putting on the brakes, Horton made a nice feed to Milan Lucic, who stickhandled and delivered a perfect backhand setup to David Krejci near the left faceoff circle and he buried it with a screaming one-timer. It was a great display of chemistry and pinpoint passing, once again proving that when the first line is on their game and working well together…they’re scary. 3-1 Bruins
In the third, the Bruins continued move the puck well and create chances, though Nabokov’s strong play throughout much of the game’s final 20 minutes kept the Bruins off the board and allowed the Islanders to stay within reach. The Isles had a few solid scoring opportunities of their own, but Rask put forth his own impressive performance between the pipes on the other end, staying calm and collected and not allowing anything past him.
The B’s put the victory on ice in the game’s closing minutes when Greg Campbell got his first point of the season with an empty-netter in the Islanders end. 4-1 Bruins
Tuesday’s victory marks the fourth straight victory (all on the road) for the Bruins, their first four-game winning streak of the season. It was another solid all-around showing, one good enough to earn two-points in the standings. The B’s improve to 12-2-2 and will finally head back to Boston for a three-game homestand as they head into the most grueling part of their schedule. The Black and Gold will open a stretch of three games in four nights starting on Thursday night against Ottawa at the TD Garden.
1. Tuukka Rask – Saves: 36, Save Pct.: .973
2. Brad Marchand – 1 G, 0 A, +1
3. Patrice Bergeron – 0 G, 2 A, +2