For quite a few seasons, the Boston Bruins seem to have a hard time matching-up against “heavy” teams. The first period of Wednesday night’s game against the NY Islanders looked bad early.
The Bruins were slow out of the gate last night. While this isn’t a common-theme with the team this season, it does appear to be one against teams that tend to play at a slow, grinding pace. Teams like the Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and St Louis Blues have given fits to Bruins teams that looked at points as if they were solid Cup contenders.
The Islanders dominated the tone of the game from the beginning. They were able to slow-down the Bruins offensive machine for the most part in the first period, and Islanders forward Zach Parise gave them a 1-0 lead through the first period.
The Isles seemed to impose their physicality against the Bs early and out-shot them for most of the game. The Islanders ended up out-shooting the Bruins by the end of the game 26-24. Impressively, the Bruins out-hit the Isles 24-21. Those stats proved meaningless at the end.
Bruins 2nd Period Woes Seem Corrected
The one other common theme that the Bruins have suffered from; along with their difficulty against more physical teams, has been their brain-dead second period play. The Bruins have typically started out by either opening the scoring, or if not, evening the tally or gaining the lead during the first period.
Only to see that advantage or momentum lost due to their sloppy, confused and almost minor-league play during the second period. This has happened since the days of Claude Julien, although it has progressively gotten better. Even after the switch to Butch Cassidy behind the bench, there were many occasions where the Bruins seemed almost lost in the 2nd.
Tonight was not one of those nights.
Bruins Turn-up the Heat
After looking mostly-pedestrian during the 1st, the Bruins were able to turn the momentum and challenge the Islanders both physically and mentally as they imposed their will again. Defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Derek Forbort both potted goals within three-minutes of each other, and breathed life into the game.
This woke the Bruins up, and they responded by not only scoring, but upping their physical game as well. Their speed to loose pucks and corner work paid off. Their net-front presence became more formidable, and from there, the sleeping giant awoke.
Once the third period began, it was an onslaught. Brad Marchand netted his 15th goal of the season five-minutes into the third period to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead. Ten minutes later, Trent Frederic chipped-in his 10th goal of the season to make it 4-1.
Frederic has enjoyed a breakout season, after being deemed a bust and a reach when Don Sweeney took him in the first-round of the 2016 draft. The former University of Wisconsin stand-out has proven to be a valuable asset to the Bruins this season.
Next up: The Bruins get right back on the horse to face the New York Rangers tonight at Madison Square Garden for the second-part of a New York back-to-back. Puck-drop is at 7:00.
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