The Boston Bruins got two goals form their fourth line and an outstanding performance form their backup goalie. The New York Islanders got nothing out of their power play and were gassed in the third period, playing their second game in as many nights.
And that’s how you get a 2-1 win for Boston in Brooklyn, as they grab sole possession of the last wild card slot in the Eastern Conference.
Tuukka Rask couldn’t play for the Bruins due to a crippling battle with timidity, er, a “lower body injury.” So Anton Khudobin stepped up with 18 saves on 19 shots, which is another way of saying that the Islanders only generated 19 shots on goal. They average 30.5 shots per game; Boston is the second-best team in the NHL in shot suppression, 26.5 shots per game to opponents.
The offense was provided by, who else, Riley Nash. Yep. Two goals for Nash. Why not?
The Islanders had six power plays. Combined with the 0-for-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night, and that’s a huge goose egg from a unit that tallied twice against the New York Rangers earlier in the week. Coach Doug Weight has made a lot of right moves in his tenure with the team. Here’s a wrong one, by his own admission: Rookie Josh Ho-Sang didn’t see the ice with the first-unit power play until the Islanders failed at five of them.
The Bruins now have 84 points, with seven games left and six of those at home. The Islanders have 82 points with eight games left, five of them on the road.
The game in-hand is huge; the Bruins’ 37-33 lead in non-shootout wins looms larger.
Even better for the B’s: The Buffalo Sabres thumped the Toronto Maple Leafs, 5-2, on Saturday night. They’re a point back for third in the Atlantic, but the Leafs have a game in-hand. Surprisingly, given they’re division rivals, they don’t face each other again.
Meanwhile, there are some other party guests knocking at the door.
The Tampa Bay Lightning (81) are now three in back of the Bruins, but they have a game in-hand and a game against the Bruins left on the schedule.
The Carolina Hurricanes (79 points) defeated the New Jersey Devils. They have TWO games in hand on the Bruins, with nine games remaining. Six of those games are at home. They also have a game with the Islanders remaining. The Canes are 7-0-3 in their last 10 games.
Sebastian Aho, who had two goals, in March? He’s got five goals and seven assists in 14 games.
The Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers have 77 points, but time is running short. The Panthers defeated the Blackhawks by a 7-0 score on Saturday night. Here’s really the only highlight you should care about:
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