Slow starts have been an issue for the Boston Bruins all season long. The desperate New York Islanders took advantage of the slow start and were able to get out to an early lead. Once the home team realized they were in trouble the offense started to roll.
Thomas Greiss was on top of his game tonight, though. He recorded a career-high for saves in a game. Greiss’ spectacular play kept the Islanders alive while Anders Lee did his best to carry the entire New York offense to victory.
The first period did not start out the way the Bruins wanted, but the Islanders were not complaining. Within the first six minutes of the frame, the visitors were up 2-0. The Islanders were not overly impressive in the period, but they did not make any major mistakes.
The first goal came after Brad Marchand collided with Tuukka Rask, allowing Anders Lee an easy open net tally. Thomas Hickey scored the second goal during a 3 on 1 rush. Hickey was able to freeze Rask by faking a pass and beat the B’s goaltender to the short side.
Jimmy Hayes, David Krejci and Marchand all had near breakaways for the Bruins, but were unable to get anything past Thomas Greiss. Towards the end of the period the Bruins started to generate speed through the neutral zone and that led to some good chances. Boston outshot New York 14-9 in the period.
Love the look away snapper. Hickey makes it 2-0 NYI https://t.co/lBd1FrP9zz
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) December 21, 2016
After paying a steep price for the slow start in the first, the Bruins were expected to come out strong in the second. Unfortunately, they came out slow and went down 3-0 when Nikolay Kulemin scored. Kulemin was able to score after beating Kevan Miller to a loose puck and then beating Rask to the post.
The goal resulted in Claude Julien pulling Rask to put Anton Khudobin in the cage. Julien also changed his lines around. Austin Czarnik joined Patrice Bergeron and Marchand for a few shifts. Marchand also jumped in with David Krejci and David Backes for a brief time.
The Islanders were able to maintain their mistake free play through the second frame. Boston put some pressure on the visitors a few times, but they were able to keep the Bruins off the scoreboard.
It took falling in a 3-0 hole before the Bruins put together a good all around period. The Islanders went into a full prevent defense to protect their big lead. With the prevent defense on, the Boston offense started to take over.
Anton Blidh started the scoring with his first career NHL goal. His goal was able to get the Bruins rolling in the right direction. A short time later, Zdeno Chara riffled a shot that hit off of Dominic Moore and found its way to the net to pull Boston within one.
All the momentum was going Boston’s way until Kevan Miller took a penalty for tripping. Anders Lee was able to score his second goal with the power play. That would be all the Islanders needed to put the Bruins away. Greiss turned aside 48 shots to help secure the win.
NYI-Anders Lee (11) Unassisted
NYI-Thomas Hickey (3) assisted by Josh Bailey (14) and Anders Lee (4)
NYI-Nikolay Kulemin (4) assisted by Johnny Boychuk (7)
BOS-Anton Blidh (1) assisted by Brandon Carlo (6) and Anton Khudobin (1)
BOS-Dominic Moore (8) assisted by Zdeno Chara (6) and Jimmy Hayes (1)
NYI-Anders Lee (12) assisted by Josh Bailey (15) and Nick Leddy (10)
THW THREE STARS
First: Anders Lee (two goals-one assist)
Second: Thomas Greiss (48 saves on 50 shots)
Third: Josh Bailey (2 assists)
Boston Bruins at Florida Panthers
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2016-17 Season Series: Bruins Lead 2-0
Anthony Pagliarulo is a Boston Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers. He is a Massachusetts native and a Worcester State University alumni. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @APags87.