BOSTON — Here are the Talking Points from the Boston Bruins 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders at TD Garden on Monday night that clinched the third seed in the playoffs.
GOLD STAR: It was Taylor Hall’s evening to shine from beginning to end. Hall scored the first goal of the night for the Bruins on a bad angle one-timer on the power play and he finished things off with a nifty move cutting through the middle of the ice for an overtime, against-the-grain backhander against the Islanders. Hall also drew a pair of Islanders penalties in the first period as well and made plays all night for the Bruins with his extra effort, sneaky speed, considerable skill and a newfound doggedness that clearly has been there since arriving in Boston. Hall finished with three shots on net and five total shot attempts in his 17:30 of ice time while bookending those two scores that did the damage for the Bruins. But it was all about getting everybody out of their seats in overtime with the kind of offensive skill that’s helped turn the Bruins into a very deep, dangerous group headed into the playoffs. Hall did just that with a game-winner that gives him eight goals and 14 points in 16 games with the Black and Gold.
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BLACK EYE: It was a rough night for a few different Islanders players, including standout goaltender Semyon Varlamov being forced to exit the game with an apparent injury after two periods. But it was perhaps worst of all for Nick Leddy, who did the best he could in 23:51 of ice time but was torched on the game-winner overtime goal for Taylor Hall. It was Hall that cut through the middle of the ice, went through Leddy’s legs with the puck with precision and then backhanded the puck past Ilya Shorokin for the game-winning goal. Leddy finished with a minus-2 rating, one shot on net and a giveaway while logging heavy minutes for the Islanders defenseman. It was a heavy, playoff-style game where both teams played pretty well, but it was clear the Islanders were playing as hard as they could with some of their players springing leaks against a more talented Bruins team. Leddy was among those leaks while getting exposed on the game-winner.
TURNING POINT: Once it got to overtime and the Bruins had clinched the third overall seed with that one point, it felt like all the air came out of the balloon for the New York Islanders. The Bruins got the only two shots on net in overtime, controlled the play for the extra session and then watched Taylor Hall made a great individual play cutting to the net and serving up the backhander shot that beat Shorokin for the game-winner. Clearly the Bruins did their best work in the third period holding off an Islanders team that wanted to win in regulation and even pulled the goaltender to try and make that happen in a 2-2 game at the end of the third period. But the Bruins held strong, finished as high as they could have in the standings and now will get ready for the playoffs while rolling the black aces and taxi squad guys into the lineup Tuesday night in Washington.
HONORABLE MENTION: Once again Boston Bruins playmaker David Krejci was at the wheels of the scoring machine assisting on all three goals and making the primary play each time that helped set up the scorer. On the first goal it was Krejci that served up the cross-ice pass to Taylor Hall for the one-timer at the bottom of the circle, and on the second goal it was again Krejci finding Brad Marchand camped out in front of the net with inside position on Ryan Pulock for the easy tap-in. Krejci was along for the ride a little bit more on the overtime winner for Hall where the left winger just made an excellent individual play with the puck, but Krejci piled up the helpers this year with 36 assists in just 51 games.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6:49 – the number of minutes of ice time for Ondrej Kase before he was forced to leave Monday night’s game with an upper body injury. This was after Kase had previously missed four months and 50 plus games with a concussion.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “We wanted to win the game. We wanted to play well. We got the two points and now we’re locked in [against the Capitals]. Solid team. Great top-6. Big Bodies. Obviously playing [Zdeno Chara] I’m sure will be a big storyline. Looking forward to the matchup.” –Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy on the first round matchup against the Capitals beginning next weekend.