BOSTON – The Boston Bruins finally beat the New York Islanders this season with a convincing 4-1 win at TD Garden. The B’s came out flying Thursday night and never let up as they out-shot the Islanders 23-7 in the first period and 45-23 by the final horn.
Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand scored twice, Craig Smith scored for a third straight game and Taylor Hall snapped a 17-game goalless streak for his first goal as a Bruin. Tuukka Rask was sound in his first game since March 25, stopping 22 of 23 Islanders shots.
GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand. Marchand scored his 20th goal of the season just 1:49 into regulation and then added an empty-netter with 1:36 left in regulation. Again though, Marchand doesn’t find himself as a Gold Star simply based on offensive production but more so because of his leadership. His first goal 1:49 into regulation was a direct result of him coming out like he was shot of a cannon and setting the tempo once again. From there on, the Bruins built a belief that they could finally beat the Islanders and that’s exactly what they did. That mental boost will be huge if and when they face the team many have ranked in their top 5 contenders for the Stanley Cup lists.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) April 16, 2021
BLACK EYE: The New York Islanders forgetting the game started at 7:08 PM ET. The Islanders played as if they all had Tyler Seguin’s alarm clock Thursday and with the exception of goalie Semyon Varlamov, who finished with 41 saves – 21 in the first period – were complete no-shows. They never seemed to recover and left Varlamov out to dry for most of the night.
TURNING POINT: Taylor Hall’s first goal as a Bruin at 1:52 of the third period. The Islanders had calmed things down in the second period after newly acquired Travis Zajac made it 2-1 just 2:55 into the middle frame. As mentioned above, Varlamov kept them in the game, and given the Bruins’ past third periods against the Islanders, Hall’s goal erased any doubt that might’ve been creeping into their collective mind.
“Help us win a game, do your job and he did,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Hall’s game Thursday night.
Taylor Hall scores his first goal as a Boston Bruin.
3-1 game. pic.twitter.com/cV6X20aZAl
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) April 16, 2021
HONORABLE MENTION: Taylor Hall. The player that Don Sweeney hopes will be his NHL Trade Deadline prize catch and the final piece to his top-six forward group not only scored his first goal with the Boston Bruins but lit the lamp for the first time in 17 games. Hall’s explosive speed was on display for that goal that put the Bruins up 3-1 1:52 into the final frame but also throughout the entire game. Not only was Hall using the speed to break open for scoring chances but also to backcheck and keep plays alive in the offensive zone. If he can start to believe in himself again and use that lethal speed, Sweeney may end up with one of the biggest NHL Trade Deadline steals in recent memory. Hall was thrilled to finally find the twine but as he has been since he arrived via trade from the Buffalo Sabres, Hall once again seemed even more thrilled to be a member of an Original 6 franchise like the Boston Bruins.
“There’s something different about playing for an Original Six franchise like the Bruins,” Hall said after the game. “There’s a culture here that is special. … We’re just a piece of the puzzle here. That’s the motto.”
Extra Honorable Mention: Congrats to Tuukka Rask for finally getting his 300th career win!
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 – The number of consecutive 20-goal seasons by Marchand after his 20th lamplighter of the 2021 season. Marchand joined Rick Middleton, Johnny Bucyk, and Phil Esposito as the only Boston Bruins to ever accomplish the feat.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “A good, solid game. I thought we didn’t let our foot off the gas. We really had no passengers tonight. That’s always what you’re looking for.” – Cassidy on arguably the Bruins’ most complete effort of the season.