By Brian Willwerth
BOSTON, MA – The Boston Bruins are on their best roll of the season right now. They won their third straight game Monday night, a 6-2 victory over the New York Islanders at TD Garden.
The home team got on the board just 1:32 in the game. Benoit Pouliot took a centering pass from Jordan Caron and beat Evgeni Nabokov to make it 1-0. For Pouliot, it was his first goal as a Bruin, and first goal overall in 32 games, dating back to February of 2011 when he played for the Canadiens.
“He’s a guy that’s working hard,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. “His work ethic…is there, we’ve just got to keep working with him and see how far we can go.”
Three seconds later, the sellout crowd at TD Garden was on its feet again when Adam McQuaid and Matt Martin decided to drop their gloves at the Boston blue line and go after each other. They would each spend the next five minutes in the penalty box.
The Islanders evened the score at the 5:52 mark. Matt Moulson deflected Steve Staios’ shot from the point past Tuukka Rask to tie the game at 1.
The Bruins jumped back on top, on the power play. With Travis Hamonic in the box for cross-checking, Nathan Horton beat Nabokov with a wrist shot to make it 2-1. Just 29 seconds later, Patrice Bergeron set up Tyler Seguin to make it 3-1.
Seguin has four goals in the last two games, and extended his point streak to four games. Bergeron now has a seven-game point streak.
That goal sent Nabokov to the showers. Al Montoya took over in net.
“We are getting a lot of chances,” said Horton. “When you get that many chances they’re eventually going to go in.”
The Isles closed to within a goal late in the period, courtesy of Michael Grabner’s fourth goal of the season at the 18:36 mark.
The second period featured no scoring, but plenty of opportunities. Boston had the better chances, but Montoya was up to the challenge. He and Rask combined to stop all 28 shots they faced in the period, several of them of the point-blank variety.
There was a scary moment early in the third, as Boston’s Daniel Paille got hit in the face with a slapshot. He was down on the ice for a couple of minutes. Julien said Paille was seeing a specialist after the game, and hoped to know more on Tuesday.
A few minutes later, the Bruins scored two goals less than a minute apart for the second time on the night. Horton broke in and fed Milan Lucic, who beat Montoya for his seventh goal of the season to make it 4-2. Lucic now has a goal in four straight games.
Just 49 seconds later, Horton scored his second of the night, putting home a rebound of a Joe Corvo shot to make it 5-2.
“We really put a lot of emphasis on following up a strong shift after a goal scored or after a goal against,” said Julien. “It’s about holding on to the momentum or regaining it.”
The Bruins have never lost when leading after two periods. The Islanders have never won when trailing after 40 minutes of play.
The Bruins return to action on Thursday night when they host the Edmonton Oilers. Faceoff is at 7:00.
“We definitely put ourselves in a hole,” said Lucic of overcoming the team’s slow start. “We’re the ones that are going to have to get us out of this funk.”