Isles Come Back and Defeat Bruins 4-2
The New York Islanders defeated the Northeast division leading Boston Bruins last night in a Friday night match-up at the old barn on Hempstead Turnpike in a 4-2 comeback win that saw the Islanders trailing up until the third period. After being down 2-0 in the middle frame, Matt Moulson got the goal scoring started with his 29th of the year on the power play with just two seconds remaining in the period. His goal shifted the momentum for the rest of the game and put him one goal shy of his career best of 30 that was set last season.
When asked how many he plans on scoring by the end of this year, he decided to put the responsibility on one of his line mates.
"Depends on how many P.A. wants to pass me," Moulson said.
But jokes aside, Moulson's goal cut the deficit to one and set the tone for the start of the third period. The Islanders came out hungry and got a tying goal from Michael Grabner and the go-ahead goal from defenseman Jack Hillen. The Bruins did a magnificent job blocking shots all night long despite the Islanders managing to get 41 at Tim Thomas' net, but this time it back fired. Hillen's shot came from the left side of the blue line and hit a Bruins defenseman square in the chest and it redirected past Thomas to give the Islanders a 3-2 lead.
"It was a huge goal for us," said Hillen of Moulson's late second period goal. "A one goal game going into the third, we had momentum on our side. We felt like we could come out and take this with that goal. It was huge for us and changed the momentum of the game"
And they did. With the Isles forwards pressing hard, Al Montoya had to stand strong between the pipes to help keep his team in the game. With the win, Montoya has improved to 7-2-2 and carries a 2.01 GAA with a .927 save percentage. He had 26 saves on 28 shots last night.
"You have to give credit to the team here," said Montoya. "The guys came out and battled. They put pucks on net didn't get frustrated. This is phenomenal to get a win against this team in our building."
To seal the deal, Parenteau unofficially scored an empty net goal with an assist credited to Matt Moulson. I say unofficial because he was hooked at the blue line when he attempted to send the puck towards the yawning cage. It would have likely been a penalty shot, which means the Islanders were awarded the goal even though the puck never made it to the goal line. The victory broke a streak for the Bruins as it was the first time that the they had lost this season after having a 2-0 lead.
"That's huge. That just shows character like we keep talking about in this locker room. The character is huge," said Montoya. "Guys have never given up. Going into the third period we knew we were in the game. We just needed to get a couple more shots to the net and that's what we did. They didn't have much."
Interim head coach Jack Capuano was pleased with the effort from his team.
"They believe in one another," he said. "We have been scoring some goals and they believe that they can score goals. You know that's a pretty good hockey team. And I know they played last night against Buffalo but they were coming pretty hard and their D were doing a great job blocking - they blocked a lot of shots, their sticks were really good up in their D zone but we found a way."
One reporter brought up to head coach Capuano that the Islanders and the Bruins are tied for the most points in the Eastern Conference since the end of December, just after that horrible losing streak ended that stretched over 21 games.
"I think confidence and belief in one another for sure," said Capuano in regards to what has changed for the team since that streak ended. "We got a young group in there. People say that we're loose and we're having fun - and we are, but at the same time they are playing within the team concept. They're doing the things our coaching staff is asking them to do. They're focused. Their attention to detail is excellent. And when you do those things then you got a chance to win hockey games."
Capuano's ability to turn this season around might be enough for GM Garth Snow to erase the word "interim" from his job title for the start of next season.
Tonight the Islanders will be visiting the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center; last week they met and the Devils walked away with a 4-3 shootout win. This will be another attempt for the Isles to play spoiler for the playoff hopes of their division rivals.
Also, be sure to check out John Zadrozny of Yes! Islanders and Dee Karl from Hockeybuzz's recent interview with Bob Nystrom for Islanders Top Shelf, a new segment that Zadrozny has been working on through the Blog Box.
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