It took just one meeting with the Islanders to pound every ounce of Lake Tahoe vibes out of the Bruins on Thursday night, as a five-goal third period from the Isles absolutely smoked the Bruins into a 7-2 defeat at Nassau Coliseum.
“We didn’t execute too well,” a frustrated Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We got down on ourselves and tried to do too much.”
But long before this one fell apart — and in downright brutal fashion — the Bruins put themselves on the board just 1:02 into action by way of Nick Ritchie’s seventh goal of the season.
The Islanders countered with goals from Adam Pelech and Mat Barzal to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission, but a Craig Smith goal tipped in off Matt Martin’s stick and through Semyon Varlamov brought the B’s back even with New York at 2-2 for a third-period showdown in Uniondale.
And in what an absolute nightmare of a third period, the Bruins’ troubles started when Anthony Beauvillier stripped an unsuspecting Trent Frederic for an unassisted strike at the 5:41 mark. The goal was as inexcusable as it gets, really, with all five Bruins within a couple of strides of one another when Beauvillier stormed in and created havoc and the go-ahead goal without a hint of resistance.
The Islanders then doubled their lead with a two-on-one finish from Jordan Eberle, made it a three-goal lead on a J.G. Pageau shorthanded tally, pushed it out to four on an Anders Lee out-muscling of Urho Vaakanainen, and scored their fifth and final goal on Oliver Wahlstrom’s second of the year.
All in all, it was five goals on 18 third-period shots for the Islanders, and with the final four goals of the period coming in what was a mere 5:52 of action.
Just plain brutal.
Halak finished with 30 saves for the loss, while the Isles’ Varlamov made 34 saves for the victory.
Bruins defenseman Jakub Zboril made his return to the Boston lineup and helped spark the game’s opening goal with a fantastic activation in the attacking zone and slick dish to Ritchie. Zboril finished with one assist, a hit, and block in 19:17 of time on ice.
David Krejci and Kevan Miller, meanwhile, remained out of action due to lower-body ailments. Same for Matt Grzelcyk (lower body) and Ondrej Kase (upper body), and Jeremy Lauzon missed his first game of what’s expected to be a four-week absence due to a broken hand suffered last Sunday.
With the loss, the Bruins have dropped three straight to the Islanders for the first time since 2013, and have lost three straight road games to the Islanders for the first time since what was a five-game slide (0-4-1) against N.Y. from Nov. 2005 through Nov. 2007.
The Bruins will now make their way to Madison Square Garden for a Friday night meeting with the Rangers. The B’s are 2-0-0 against the Blueshirts in 2021.