The Bruins tried their hardest to give away yet another game and 2 points on the road but were able to survive and get a 2-1 win over the Islanders tonight. Boston got goals from Patrice Bergeron (5-on-5) and Ryan Spooner, who scored a beauty on the power play. Highlighting the entire game was Tuukka Rask’s performance. He was lights out and had a very nice calm, cool, in control, demeanor about his game tonight as well. Here are BostonPucks.com 3 thoughts from the game:
1) Vatrano Making Most Of His Opportunity
Frank Vatrano looks like he belongs on this Bruins team. He had 5 shots on net in a modest 12 minutes of ice time but really made a lot of smart plays. He’s also lining up with David Krejci and Loui Eriksson and holding his own. The pace he brings to the game is also really nice to see with his motor constantly running. He just has the look and feel of the “new NHL” type of player. Young, fast, hard working, but also with a skill set that can put up points as well. I love how it seemed every time they camera would focus on him he’s smiling ear to ear. Even though it’s only a 2 game sample size he’s making it hard for Boston to return him to Providence when David Pastrnak returns.
2) Tuukka Was Fantastic
1st star of the game without a doubt was Tuukka Rask. He stopped 35-of-36 shots he faced tonight for a .973 save percentage. He flat out shut the door. I actually thought Rask looked good the other night against Washington but the team left him out to dry on the penalty kill, down 5-on-3, to a top offensive unit in the Capitals. But tonight he had some big game saving stops. And most importantly, he looked confident doing it. He wasn’t flailing around, he didn’t look off angle, or fight the puck. He just seems to make a lot of his saves seem easy and left little to no rebounds. When he looks at ease, or as hockey people say “he’s economical”, is when Tuukka seems to play his best.
3) Bruins PK Showed Up
The Islanders power play tonight went 1-for-7. And it was due to a fantastic penalty killing performance by Boston. At one point in the game the Islanders had ripped through four power play’s and only had 1 shot on net total. Many of the penalty kills the Bruins were actually the aggressors, icing it cleanly, and even generating a few offensive chances as well. They just had more grit in their kill tonight and really gave the Islanders very few good looks. New York’s lone power play goal was by old friend Johnny Boychuk.
- Boston needs to figure out this mental lapse/dumb penalty thing that’s going on. I anticipated some version of a melt down in the 3rd period just because the Bruins were finishing up their third game in four nights against really good teams. One could expect a significant push from New York late. But honestly, their push came only because Boston took dumb penalties to give them life. If that game stays 5-on-5 the 3rd period could have been a simple dump and chase, keep them outside, defend them to death, win. Instead a high sticking penalty, a hand pass in the face-off dot, and a needless cross-check in the front of their own net, almost buried the Bruins. They have to clean that up quick.
- Patrice Bergeron is so money it’s unreal. Yes, he took a penalty in the 3rd period that was pretty questionable, but his 1 goal, 1 assist, 7 shot, 21 minute performance was vintage PB37. He makes all the simple, small moves at the right time and never gives an inch out there. It’s just something we’ve come to take for granted at times with Boston but tonight he really stood out.