After a dominating 7-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe Sunday, the Boston Bruins ran into their 2021 kryptonite Thursday and lost their third straight game to the New York Islanders, 7-2. Here are the Talking Points after a disastrous third period that saw the Bruins simply stop playing and end up allowing five unanswered goals.
GOLD STAR: Mathew Barzal. The one that got away, not once, not twice, but three times in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft burned the Bruins again. Barzal gave the Islanders a 2-1 lead at 12:39 of the first period with his seventh goal of the season and his second against the Bruins.
— NHL (@NHL) February 26, 2021
The superstar forward, that the Islanders chose 16th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft after the Bruins took Jakub Zboril (13th), Jake DeBrusk (14th), and Zach Senyshyn (15th), also assisted on the Jordan Eberle goal that made it 4-2 Islanders at 10:45 of the final frame. Barzal now has two goals and two assists against the Bruins this season and two goals and six assists in 12 career games against the B’s.
BLACK EYE: The lack of mental discipline in the third period. Five of the Bruins’ six turnovers came in the third period and all five led to goals. Boston Bruins goalie Jaro Halak may have had his worst game of the season and in a while, but it was the Bruins’ neutral zone game that was absolute swiss cheese and not their goalie. That was a result of forcing plays that weren’t there, blindly throwing the puck up the middle and rimming it out before even looking up ice.
“We just didn’t get it done in the third period and really loosened up in the neutral zone,” said forward Nick Ritchie who scored his seventh goal of the season just 1:02 into regulation to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead at the time.
TURNING POINT: The Eberle goal. The Anthony Beauvillier goal 5:41 into the final frame proved to be the game-winner but it was Eberle’s goal 5:04 later that seemed to sink the Bruins. The goal came off another odd-man rush created by Barzal’s speed and seemed to kill any hope of another comeback by the Bruins. The Islanders scored three goals in the next 3:48 and that was all she wrote in this one!
HONORABLE MENTION: Semyon Varlamov. The Islanders goalie came into this game with a .920 save percentage this season and .925 against the Bruins in his career. While the Bruins were outshot 18-8 in the third period, there were plenty of times during the first two periods that the Bruins could’ve swung this game their way and Varlamov shut the door again. He is 3-0-0 against the B’s this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: -8. The combined plus-minus of the Bruins grind line of Trent Frederic (-2), Sean Kuraly (-3), and Chris Wagner (-3). The Bruins need what’s supposed to be a shutdown and physical line to defend much better than that.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “There wasn’t any. That’s a problem because I don’t usually see that with our club.” – Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on the lack of urgency in the third period.