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Rask Shines And Bruins Finally Win In OT, 3-2 Over Islanders

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Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask Makes a Save

For the first time since they beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime in the ‘Black Friday Game’ on November 29, the Bruins won a game that lasted more than 60 minutes and beat the New York Islanders in OT by the same score Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made 35 saves and Patrice Bergeron scored a powerplay goal 1:33 into the extra frame to give the Bruins their third straight win and first in overtime or the shootout in six tries since the day after Thanksgiving. 

Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman John Moore also lit the lamp for the B’s while Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield and forward Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders. Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves in the loss. 

As has been the case so many times when the Bruins have to play extra time, they would never have made it to that point if not for Rask and Jaro Halak, and in this game, where the Bruins were completely outplayed early on, it was Rask who held the fort down and gave them a chance. Whether the Bruins were expecting the Islanders to come out with their trademark defense-first system or they had a late night across the river in Manhattan, the Bruins were caught off-guard in the first period. A relentless and opportunistic attack by the Islanders outshot the Bruins 14-5 in the opening frame. Thanks to Rask though, the Islanders could only take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Rask finished the period with 13 saves and ten of those were on legit scoring chances.

Mayfield ripped home his fifth of the season off a beautiful play and feed by Mathew Barzal at 4:36. Fellow rearguard Noah Dobson got the secondary assist. 

In addition to trailing after one period, the Bruins also came out of the period down a defenseman. Just over eight minutes into the first, Islanders forward Derick Brassard got tangled up with Bruins rearguard Matt Grzelcyk while battling for the puck, and as the puck broke loose and went back behind the Bruins net and up ice, Brassard took a two-hand chop to the backside of Grzelcyk’s right leg. Grzelcyk did not return and is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. No call was made on the play.

The Bruins needed Rask to be huge again early in the second period. Just over two minutes into the middle frame, Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier and Barzal broke in two-on-one and the Bruins goalie robbed Beauvillier after he took a pass in the slot from Barzal. The Bruins finally woke up after that save and began to reward their goalie who until that point, had kept them in the game.

After Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy broke up a 2-on-1 five minutes later, the game tilted to the Bruins side and they started to penetrate the Islanders’ vaunted defense. Just 1:33 after he denied the Islanders on the 2-on-1, McAvoy split the seam breaking into the zone, eliminating that thick layer the Isles have just inside the blue line. He then chipped the puck into the net, it deflected off Anders Bjork out to DeBrusk on the wing and the Bruins winger banked it home for his third goal in his last two games to tie the game at 8:33 of the middle frame. 

The Islanders found their spark again late as they peppered Rask on a powerplay at 14:07 but failed to convert. Then minutes later, Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo recovered after being beaten just over center ice and broke up a 2-on-1 with 2:50 left in the period. The Bruins and Islanders were even at eleven shots in the second and headed to the third even at one. 

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The two teams traded chances to start the third and 5:48 into the period, Moore lit the lamp for the second time this season, beating Varlamov with a seed from the point. Danton Heinen and Charlie Coyle got the helpers and the Bruins had their first lead of the game. 

 

The Bruins’ lead didn’t last long though as Barzal broke loose from Bruins center David Krejci just inside the Bruins’ zone, broke down the middle, took a feed from Josh Bailey and beat Rask to tie the game at two 9:33 into the final frame. 

 

The two teams remained deadlocked for the rest of the period and much to the chagrin of the Bruins – who were 2-5 in overtime heading into this game – headed to an extra frame. Right from the opening faceoff though, the Bruins were engaged and eager as Bergeron went back and forth jabbing with Beauvallier on the opening faceoff and then Brad Marchand got under the skin of Islanders captain Brock Nelson who tripped the Bruins pesky winger and went to the sin-bin. That set the stage for Bergeron and the Bruins’ record-setting power-play goal for a 13th straight game, as the Bruins center took a feed from defenseman Torey Krug and won the game with his 19th lamplighter of the season. 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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