Islanders Hand The Bruins Their Third Home Loss Of The Season
The New York Islanders dream of a post season got a little closer to becoming reality as the Isles held off an early Boston Bruins push to defeat Boston 2-1 in the TD Garden.
Josh Bailey had both Islanders goals and Evgeni Nabokov stopped 30 of 31 Bruins shots for the victory.
For Nabokov, it was his 20th of the season which is tied for the National Hockey League lead. The Isles needed a strong game from the veteran netminder and Nabokov didn't disappoint. Not only did he stop 30 Boston shots, there was some pressure involved with a lot of them, especially early. (Photo credit: flikr/clydeorama)
Boston flat out dominated the first 10 minutes of the game. They were able to keep the puck in the Isles end most of the time during that stretch. Even though they gave up the first shot on goal, they had a 9-2 shot advantage midway through the frame and finished the first with a 16-9 shot advantage.
The problem for Boston?
Even with all that pressure, the Isles got the only goal. Bailey, in the high slot, took a pass from defenseman Mark Streit and fired a snap shot that eluded Bruins starting goalie Tuukka Rask with 21 seconds to go in the period that gave the Isles the 1-0 advantage at the end of the first.
The momentum from that goal carried over into the second as the Isles maintained almost two full minutes of offensive zone time to start the period.
Momentum shifted back to Boston as Brad Boyes took a delay of game penalty. On the ensuing power play, Bruins center Tyler Seguin got the Bruins even sneaking a puck between Nabokov's arm and the near post. The play started with Casey Cizikas blocking a shot from the point. The puck got to Greg Campbell and he fed the puck across the offensive zone and found Seguin for the equalizer. For Seguin, it was his second goal in two games.
The action was fairly even for nearly 10 minutes before the Isles regained the lead.
Streit took control of the puck in his own zone and quickly fired an outlet pass that Frans Nielsen redirected up ice. Bailey caught the puck just outside the Bruins end and skated into the zone and down the left wing. The young winger fired a wrist shot that squeaked by Rask and dribbled just across the goal line. It was Bailey's third goal in his last six games.
After Bailey's goal, the game settled into plenty of back and forth action with the best opportunity coming to Bailey. Kyle Okposo corralled a puck and brought it down the right wing into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1 and fed Bailey, giving him a mini-breakaway and a clear opportunity to earn the hat trick. Unfortunately for Bailey, Rask was equal to the task.
Boston's best chance to tie the game up came with Rask on the bench. With the netminder pulled and with the extra attacker, the Bruins were absolutely frenetic, trying desperately to earn the equalizer. However, the Isles defense, which has seemingly gotten stronger game after game, was able to keep the Bruins mostly to the outside and allowed Nabokov to make saves mostly on sharp angle shots.
One of those shots was from Jaromir Jagr, who fired a shot from just outside the faceoff circle to Nabokov's left through a screen, but the Islanders goaltender was in great position to make the save.
For the Isles, they have continued their run of great play. The Islanders are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and are tied with the Ottawa Senators for sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Particularly hot for the Isles has been Josh Bailey. He has six points in his last five games and currently leads all Islanders in +/- with a +7. (Photo credit: flikr/bridgetds)
Now New York returns home to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Saturday to face their biggest rivals in the New York Rangers. Here's hoping the Isles can keep on earning points!
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