The Bruins rallied to beat the Islanders tonight 5-3. The Bruins got a first period goal from Brett Connolly, but found themselves down 2-1 after the first period, in which the Islanders controlled most of the play and puck possession. The Bruins turned their game around in the second period and got goals from Joonas Kemppainen and David Pastrnak. The Bruins extended their lead in the third by goals from Ryan Spooner and David Krejci (empty net) before the Islanders scored a goal late in the period once the game was out of reach.
Here are the 3 Thoughts on the Bruins win over the Islanders
1. Connolly scores for the second game in a row.
Brett Connolly was again on a line was Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand tonight. I said after the Flyers game and I have said it in other blogs that I have liked his play and hopefully once he gets one the goals will come in bunches. Now he has scored a goal in each of the past two games. He also had a couple of close opportunities to score in the third period. One of them was on the power play when he nearly missed the top corner, but Halak got a piece of it. Hopefully this is the beginning of a good stretch for Connolly. The Bruins will need it because they have a tough schedule over the next two weeks.
2. I like Loui Eriksson on the top line with Krejci and Pastrnak
With Matt Beleskey missing the past two games with an upper body injury Loui Eriksson as been playing his natural position, left wing, on the Krejci line. I like this line combination, but it is not the typical line mates that Krejci has had. In past seasons Krejci usually centers two bigger wingers, but Loui is smart and has some nice hands around the net, so he should benefit from playing with Krejci and Pastrnak. I like this line combination also because it gets Loui and others at their natural positions. It will allow Connolly to stay on Bergeron’s line, so far it has worked with Connolly scoring 2 goals in 3 games on that line (Colorado and the past two games). This also allows Jimmy Hayes to play right wing, which is his natural position. When Beleskey comes back I would like to see him on the left wing with Spooner and Hayes. I think it will take some pressure off Beleskey on trying to live up to his contract, and hopefully he will be able to relax and just play his game on the third line.
3. Gustavsson with another strong start
Jonas Gustavsson did not make any spectacular saves, but he made the ones he should and kept the Bruins in the game, which allowed them to come back and win the game. The Bruins relied so heavily on Tuukka Rask last year because of the lack of trust in Niklas Svedberg. I do not want to take anything away from Svedberg, but he never gained the trust of the coaching staff. Gustavsson, who came to Bruins came on a tryout, is giving the Bruins a quality backup. We have to be realistic and not expect Gustavsson to take over for Rask, but if Tuukka does not find his game, Gustavsson is capable of filling in. The Bruins play the Coyotes on Tuesday at home, but then they go on the Florida tour to play the Panthers and Lightning on back to back nights (Friday and Saturday). I would expect that Gustavsson will get one of the games in Florida. If that is the case Gustavsson will have played 3 of the first 10 games. If that trend sticks Gustavsson will play about 24 games (30%). I think that is a little high for the number of games for Gustavsson, but not by much. I always thought 20 games would be about right for Gustavsson. It will come down to how well Tuukka plays. If Tuukka continues to play the way he has we are going to see more of Jonas Gustavsson.
***The World Series bound NY Mets were in the Barclays Center for tonight’s game.
***Joonas Kemppainen’s second period goal was his first NHL goal
***I did not notice Joe Morrow much in his return to the lineup and that is usually a good thing for a defenseman.
***The Montreal Canadiens clinched the Atlantic Division tonight by beating Buffalo 7-2 and extending their record to 8-0.