Two nights after a hard-fought loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. the Bruins made it a true NY trek to forget, as the team flushed a strong start down the drain — and then some — on the way to a 4-1 loss to the Islanders at UBS Arena.
In what finished as a 13-shot opening frame for the Bruins, the B’s carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission behind a bad-angle shot from the Bruins’ Taylor Hall that beat New York netminder Ilya Sorokin at the 17:26 mark of the frame. It may not have been the prettiest goal of Hall’s season, but it was certainly deserved, as Hall stood out as the B’s best scoring threat throughout the period, with three of Boston’s 13 first-period looks coming off the stick of No. 71.
But as it turned out, this would be the only thing the Bruins had to celebrate by the night’s end.
The Islanders knotted things up at 1-1 when Jean-Gabriel Pageau continued what’s felt like a career-long domination of the Bruins with a rebound goal putaway through Linus Ullmark at the 11:30 mark of the second period.
The Pageau goal felt like a true bad break kind of goal for the Bruins to give up, too, as Ullmark stopped the initial shot, but was unable to corral the zesty look from Noah Dobson to keep it under control and out of Pageau’s reach. And the Islander goal wouldn’t have been possible without a straight-up dreadful penalty from Bruins center Erik Haula, as Haula was whistled for a tripping against Oliver Wahlstrom on what was a no-win move from Haula.
And after winning the second period, the Islanders needed just five minutes and 50 seconds of third-period play to put themselves on top for the first time all evening, and with a basket of Boston mistakes to help them along the way.
Stuck in the mud in the defensive zone, the Bruins were unable to get the puck out of their zone despite three different stretches of possession before Brock Nelson went low-to-high to Noah Dobson for a blast through traffic from the Isle defenseman. The shot got through multiple layers of traffic and hit the post to the right off Ullmark, then off Ullmark and into the net.
The Islanders made it 3-1 on a Mat Barzal about a minute after the B’s wasted a golden power-play opportunity, and an empty-net dagger from Brock Nelson made it a three-goal lead (and win) for the Islanders before the final horn.
Ullmark finished with a 25-of-28 line in the Boston net, and has now suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since Nov. 6-11, while the Islanders’ Sorokin finished with 26 saves in the opposite crease.
Reinforcements arrived for the Bruins in this one, too, with the return of captain Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Urho Vaakanainen to the Black and Gold lineup.
Bergeron’s return marked the end of what was a three-game absence for the 36-year-old center due to a head injury suffered on a collision with the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, while Vaakanainen’s return was good for his first game action since Feb. 1. Bergeron finished the night with two shots in 19:46 of action, while Vaakanainen finished with one shot and two hits in 20:00.
The road trip will roll on for the B’s with a Saturday night head-to-head with the Senators.
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. 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.