The Bruins and Islanders wrote an all too familiar script in their fourth and final 2021 meeting at the Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday night, with the sides trading blow-for-blow and goal-for-goal through 40 minutes of play.
But where the Bruins flipped the script and did the previously unthinkable came in the third period, as they held the Islanders off the scoreboard and earned a point against New York for the first time this season before falling in a shootout by a 2-1 final.
Boston opened the game’s scoring with a David Pastrnak change-up power-play goal through Semyon Varlamov at the 19:32 mark of the opening period. Good for Pastrnak’s 11th of the season, the goal was also the 400th point of Pastrnak’s NHL career, and in just his 406th career game, making him the fourth-fastest player to reach that mark.
David Pastrnak from the Long Island Marriott.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) March 10, 2021
Make it 400 career points for Pastrnak.
1-0 Bruins. pic.twitter.com/fhcj8sFzMX
Pastrnak’s goal also ended what was a brutal spell for the Boston power play, which was mired in an 0-for-12 spell.
The Islanders, meanwhile, waited for a late-period power play of their own to knot things up, with a Brock Nelson shot that beat the Bruins’ Jaroslav Halak with just 3:42 remaining in the second to make it 1-1 apiece.
Tied at 1-1 through 40 minutes of action, the Bruins and Islanders continued to trade chances, with Varlamov making terrific stops in the New York crease while Halak matched him at the other end.
Halak’s best save of the night certainly came with 4:17 left in regulation, too, with a snappy glove stop to deny Nelson what would’ve been his second tally of the evening.
The B’s countered that with a great David Krejci to Jack Studnicka feed denied by Varlamov.
It was just another highlight save in a night full of them for Varlamov, whose best stop came with a stick save to deny Krejci a would-be easy power-play goal into a wide-open cage, on the way to a 32-of-33 performance.
In the Boston net, Halak finished with 26 saves in the Boston crease and took his worst hard-luck loss of the year y way of shootout goals from Jordan Eberle and Anthony Beauvillier.
Boston’s blue line remained without Brandon Carlo (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee), and Jeremy Lauzon (hand), while Tuukka Rask remained back in Boston after taking a bump to the back on Sunday, which made Daniel Vladar the Bruins’ backup for the second time this season.
Forward Jake DeBrusk, stuck in the mud of his worst slump since turning pro, sat as a healthy scratch. That decision moved Studnicka up to the right wing of Krejci’s line, while Sean Kuraly made his return to the Boston lineup and centered a fourth line with Anders Bjork and Chris Wagner on the wings.
Earning a point in this game also prevented the Bruins from what would’ve been just their third stretch of at least four straight regulation losses to the Islanders in the 49-year history of the head-to-head.
The Bruins will now make their way back to Boston for a two-game set with the Rangers at TD Garden.