David Pastrnak scored two goals as the Bruins claimed a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders Saturday afternoon at the Garden. Boston’s record at home returns to .500 for the first time in a long time, improving to 16-16-5 on the season.
No matter the results of the Panthers’ and Lightning’s next game, the Bruins will remain atop the Atlantic Division, now with a three-point lead over the two teams from the Sunshine State. However, the Bruins have played three and two more games than the Panthers and Lightning, respectively.
The B’s opened up the scoring in this one late in the first period, with Loui Eriksson potting a power play goal on his signature move. Ryan Spooner found Eriksson along the goal line, and Loui exploded to the far post to wrap the puck around a sprawling Thomas Greiss.
Loui now has 26 goals on the year, and finished the game with a three-point performance as he would later add two assists.
After a pretty dominant opening 20 minutes, the Bruins found themselves being outplayed in the second, with Tuukka Rask facing the most shots of any period. Islanders captain John Tavares managed to slip one by Rask, thanks to a sloppy shift by the Bruins in their own end.
It appeared as if this game would head to the third period tied at one apiece, but the two Czechs worked their magic to link up for a goal in the final 10 seconds of the middle frame. David Krejci went on a tour of the offensive zone, circling all the way around before threading a pass to Pastrnak for a quick-release wrister that beat Greiss.
Momentum shifted in favor of the Bruins, and they put together a strong third period to shut the door on the Isles. Pastrnak added the insurance goal with just under three minutes to go to claim a big two points. He stepped into a loose puck from the left faceoff dot, firing home a laser for his 12th goal of the season.
Bad news for opposing goalies: Pasta is starting to heat up, and he now has four points in his last four games.
This was a meaningful win for the team, but it is time to shift focus to the upcoming games. The B’s will now go on their annual California road trip, taking on the top three teams in the Pacific Division: the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings.
The Bruins are 5-0-2 since the trade deadline, and are one of the best road teams in the league (23-7-3), but this trip will be a significant measuring stick as we enter the final four weeks of the season.
Let’s keep the train rolling.
-By Mark Garbino. Let’s talk hockey on Twitter @Garbino42!
[Photo via bruins.nhl.com]