Boston Bruins

Feb 29, 2020; Uniondale, New York, USA; David Pastrnak (88) is congratulated after scoring a goal as New York Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (44) looks away during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. (Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports)

By Ty Anderson,

The Bruins didn’t let a nearly 40-minute pregame number retirement ceremony for Butch Goring slow their legs down on a matinee Saturday, as the Black and Gold came out firing and set the tone early in a 4-0 win over the Islanders on Long Island.

With noticeable jump on their side, David Pastrnak opened things up just four and a half minutes into the first period with his 47th goal of the season aided by Patrice Bergeron’s collision with the Isles’ Semyon Varlamov. The goal was Pastrnak’s second in as many games, and his ninth in nine games dating back to Feb. 12’s hat trick against the Canadiens.

But the Black and Gold made sure to leave the opening period with a multi-goal edge, as Matt Grzelcyk banked a ‘shot’ off Johnny Boychuk between the circles and through Varlamov for Grzelcyk’s third goal of the season, and the Charlestown, Mass. native’s first since his two-goal performance against the Devils back on Nov. 19.

Then the Bruins somehow upped the pressure in the middle frame with a 12-4 advantage in shots, led by a five-on-three that generated multiple strong looks on goal, and back-to-back successful kills to end the period. And they came on potentially backbreaking calls against the B’s, too, with penalty-killing workhorse Zdeno Chara sentenced to two for slashing Mat Barzal before Nick Ritchie was handed a two-minute minor for a retaliatory crosscheck on Boychuk following a big hit.

After surviving an early-third push from the Islanders, Boston pushed their lead to three on Brad Marchand’s 27th goal of the season, and then extended it to four on a Charlie McAvoy blast through Varlamov with 3:34 remaining in the game.

And it was McAvoy who led the B’s in production by the day’s end, with a goal and two helpers for the second three-point effort of his NHL career, and his first since Oct. 2018. The strike was also good for McAvoy’s fourth goal in his last 12 games after going the first 51 games of the season without tallying a goal.

The floodgates have finally opened for McAvoy’s offensive production as a whole since that overtime tally in Chicago, really, with a 4-9-13 line in his last 13 contests, which has helped push McAvoy to a new career-high in points (30).

Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, finished with 25 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Rask’s best save of the night undoubtedly came on a third-period look from Jordan Eberle that saw Rask’s left toe deny New York what looked like a sure-goal.

Boston also finished with 23 blocked shots as a team, and had four different skaters finish with at least three blocks.

Up front, Chris Wagner (upper-body) missed this contest, while Anders Bjork joined Anton Blidh as the team’s healthy scratches up front. John Moore remained the Black and Gold’s healthy scratch on the backend.

The Bruins will return home for a quick practice before getting back on the road for a Tuesday night head-to-head with the Tampa Bay Lightning in a battle of the top two teams in the Atlantic Division.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.