Despite another mediocre effort the Boston Bruins found a way to earn points last night, rallying to beat the New York Islanders 4-2. Two goals from the ‘Merlot Line’ and third period strikes from Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron sealed the win, while Dougie Hamilton had his first career multi-point game, tallying two assists.
Looking to break the streak of slow starts that has been present over the last two games, it was hard work from the fourth line that earned the Black and Gold the early lead. Just five minutes in, a Hamilton blast from the point was first tipped by Daniel Paille in front before squeaking loose to Shawn Thornton, who poked it past Islander goalie Rick DiPietro to put the B’s up 1-0.
While a Milan Lucic knockout of Islander tough guy Matt Carkner seemed to give the Bruins the momentum they would need, sloppy defensive play again crept back into play. Isles forward and NHL vet Keith Aucoin was left open in front despite the presence of four Bruins, and he hammered a Colin McDonald pass by Tuukka Rask to tie the game. Then, midway through the second period it was Aucoin who struck again, blasting an awful defensive zone turnover past Rask to give the Isles the 2-1 lead.
Even more sloppy play from both teams characterized the middle frame, but the Bruins managed to battle back again as Gregory Campbell buried the rebound of a David Krejci shot to square things up heading into the third.
The Bruins big guns finally awoke in the final stanza, as seven minutes in as Zdeno Chara wristed a bullet past DiPietro to once again put the B’s ahead after some tremendous down-low work by Lucic and Nathan Horton. Just five minutes later Patrice Bergeron then put the nail in the Isles’ coffin with a dandy breakaway goal, kick-started by a terrific breakout pass by Hamilton. The Bruins managed to hang on for the win, remaining atop the Eastern Conference with a 3-0-1 record.
- Merlot Line – after having a tough night against the Rangers, it was good to see the fourth line rebound and contribute right off the bat. All three players had points (2G, 1A) and early in the game they were probably the Bruins’ best line. Paille also blasted Islander D-man Brian Strait in the first and was willing on Islander tough guy Matt Martin before Thornton jumped in. Stepped up when they needed to.
- Team Depth – contributions from across the lineup are allowing the B’s to take points out of games where they aren’t at their best. There aren’t too many teams who can match it and this should be a huge asset in the shortened season.
- Dougie Hamilton – First star of the game, first multi-point game with two assists, solid defensive zone play, tremendous vision to kick off the breakout that led to the Bergeron goal. Crowd chanting “Dougie! Dougie! Dougie!,” and ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’ playing over the Garden sound system. Can’t ask for much more out of the kid.
- Dennis Seidenberg - looked strong in his first game back from injury. Led the team in hits (6) and blocked shots (4) in 18 minute of ice time. Crushed Frans Nielsen in the second along the boards.
- Milan Lucic – another solid effort from Looch. Dropped Carkner with a single punch in the first, and had great tandem work with Nathan Horton in the offensive zone that led to the Chara game winner. Tied with four others for the Bruins’ point lead with three (2G, 1A). Appears the offseason rest did him good.
- Third Line - The Bourque-Kelly-Peverley line hasn’t been good, and it really is the only line that hasn’t contributed early in the season. A combined 2 assists and -8 rating through four games isn’t going to get the job done.
- Defensive Zone Play – Still not where it needs to be. Leaving Aucoin open on the first goal was atrocious, and some carelessness with the puck in the corner led to his second. Breakout was sloppy at times and even with Seidenberg back there were a lot of lapses in judgment over the course of the game. Still needs to be sharper.
- Tyler Seguin – a lone assist on the season, relatively invisible on the ice. Has had a few good chances, but hasn’t been able to find the net, including a five foot wide miss on an empty net ala Chris Bourque last night.
- Power Play – o-for-3 last night, 1 for 17 on the season. Only the Kings are worse. Yawn.
Lucic v. Carkner
Hamilton’s Two Assists (including Bergeron Goal)
Full Game Highlights from NHL.com