The win matches the result of Boston’s previous venture, an identical 4-1 upshot in Florida, for the widest margin of victory this season and expands the team’s winning streak to a season-high four games. Even if empty-netters are discounted, the Bruins have still tuned the opposing mesh at least three times in each of those successful outings.
Oh yeah, and this has all been done away from the TD Garden, which has only seen professional hockey action once this calendar month, but finally will again this Thursday.
How the Bruins assured themselves a happy homecoming Tuesday evening can be pinpointed in the following three key areas.
It is beyond fair to say that reigning Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron has heavily influenced the two-way effectiveness of the two third-year NHL wingers on his line, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Tuesday night’s pattern of good, bad and good developments for that troika exemplified that very notion.
The humanity of the Bergeron line was on full display barely nine minutes after they were involved in Adam McQuaid’s icebreaker. After a successful penalty kill, an Islanders icing and a Bergeron faceoff win in the offensive zone, they squandered a cornucopia of momentum.
The Isles promptly gained the loose puck off the draw and Boston failed to kickstart an effective backcheck, resulting in an equalizer by Casey Cizikas a mere 10 seconds after the New York icing.
But just to verify that they were not deflated by that setback, the three linemates collaborated to restore the lead on a literal and symbolic fresh sheet. In the first minute of the second period, Bergeron beat Visnovsky to the puck and dished it to defenseman Andrew Ference, whose rebound was tucked in by Marchand from the front porch.
That restored the line’s positive rating on the night and ultimately stood as the deciding strike.
The Bruins started the decisive second period by charging up two unanswered goals followed by three unanswered power plays. A total of 13 minutes and two seconds elapsed between Marchand’s go-ahead strike and the conclusion of Travis Hamonic’s penalty for hooking.
During that time, the Bruins went on a 12-4 run in the shooting gallery, with half of those stabs at host goaltender Evgeni Nabokov coming on the man advantage.
The first of those two Islanders penalties overlapped by 12 seconds .Visnovsky’s jailbreak at 10:07 and Hamonic’s citation at 11:40 were separated by only 93 seconds.
Although there were no five-on-four conversions, Boston had the benefit of garnering first dibs on the first slew of advantages. If nothing else, it served as a clock killer and somewhat of an opposing leg-drainer as the Bruins safeguarded their two-goal edge.
The final two penalties of the night were assessed moments before the second intermission, giving the Islanders a most welcome chance for a special teams sugar rush.
Yet after dealing with six sparse shots, some even-strength and one shorthanded, within the first 15 minutes of the second stanza, goaltender Tuukka Rask showed zero specimens of frostbite. He would face and repel another six stabs within the last 4:32 of the period, five of which were New York power-play bids.
On the other side of the intermission, the Isles proved they had restocked their tanks during the break. Regrettably for them and fortunately for Boston, the same was true for Rask.
With a 14-shot salvo in the third period, Rask revised the season highs he had just set two days prior in Florida of 34 saves on 35 shots. His Tuesday totals were 36 saves on 37 opposing hacks.