Analyzing Each Goal From the Islanders’ 4-1 Win Over Bruins

ELMONT, NY - FEBRUARY 02: New York Islanders Defenseman Noah Dobson (8) takes a shot on goal during the second period of the National Hockey League game between the Seattle Kraken and the New York Islanders on February 2, 2022, at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Islanders beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on home ice Thursday night. Finally healthy, this team looked and played like they did last year. The Islanders had a powerful first period, though trailed 1-0 after a goal from Taylor Hall. The Islanders established offensive zone time in the Boston end, something they’ve struggled to do throughout this season. Despite initially trailing this game, the Isles scored four unanswered goals and got a much-needed win against an elite team. Here is the analysis for each goal in the Islanders’ win against the Bruins.

Pageau Ties the Game

On the powerplay, J.G. Pageau scored his seventh goal of the season, with 8:30 remaining in the second period. The Islanders stalled towards the end of period one, letting Boston control the zone. Hall’s goal came with 2:34 left in the first. While Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin should have made the save on a soft shot, the team around him seemed to run out of gas.

All of that changed in the second period. The Islanders came out with the same energy from the first, finally scoring while on the powerplay. Erik Haula went to the box for tripping Oliver Wahlstrom, and the same Islanders powerplay that gave up a short-handed goal to Buffalo on Tuesday night tied the score at one.

“I thought in the second and third we played to that level and got the result we needed. We got a big power-play goal, a big penalty kill and I think our 5-on-5 play was strong,” coach Barry Trotz said.

With a minute remaining with the man advantage, the Islanders played the puck through their defense. Noah Dobson has stepped up as the facilitator for the Islanders’ powerplay and isn’t afraid to shoot from the point. Dobson ripped a shot from the middle of the ice that banked off the pad of Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark and sat in the crease. Pageau was already charging to the net and was in the perfect position to finish the goal off.

The goal pressured a Boston team that has struggled in recent weeks. With this loss against the Islanders, they have now dropped seven of their last ten games. The Bruins were without Brad Marchand after his suspension for punching Penguins goalie Tristen Jarry before swinging his stick at Jarry’s mask, striking the netminder in the head. Boston is the only playoff team in the Eastern Conference that is catchable in the standings.

Dobson Gives the Isles the Lead

The game stayed tied for the rest of the second period, with Boston trading chances with the Isles at an even pace. The third period is when the attrition started to set in for the Bruins, and the Islanders took over the game. At one point in the first period, the Bruins outshot the Islanders 12-5. Dobson took a penalty on Patrice Bergeron for hooking in the first, and likely why the shots were so lopsided. Over the subsequent two periods, the Islanders came back and outshot the Bruins 29-27.

Undoubtedly, Dobson’s goal was the difference-maker, as the Islanders dominated the Bruins for most of the third period. The Islanders cycled through the Boston zone five and a half minutes into the third period. The Islanders dumped the puck in for a line change that immediately upped the pressure on the forecheck. Anthony Beauvillier and Brock Nelson won the puck deep in the Boston zone, with Nelson passing to Dobson at the point. Dobson rifled home a shot that got past Ullmark, and the hard work over two well-played periods finally paid off for the Islanders.

Barzal Adds Insurence Goal

Barzal’s goal at 13:32 in the third broke Boston for good. Instead of getting a flukey goal, the Bruins had seven and a half minutes to score twice. The Islanders stayed firm in their zone and continued to have an intense forecheck that stumped Boston. Barzal and Kieffer Bellows created this goal as they entered Boston’s zone. Barzal had enough space to get some speed going and passed to Bellows, who was streaking to his right. Bellows shot was stopped by Ullmark but gave off a huge rebound. Ullmark slid out of his net to close any angle on Bellows, as the Islanders’ winger corralled his own rebound. Bellow’s second shot got through Ullmark’s pad just as Barzal wrapped around the back of the net. Barzal easily netted his 12th of the season.

“We gotta get that big goal and shut it down in the third,” Dobson said during the post-game. “We did that tonight.”

Since Barry Trotz took over as coach, the Islanders would use a defensive tactic when leading. They would typically dump the puck into the opposing zone, win battles in the neutral zone, then dump the puck back in. Like a boxer rope-a-doping, this would tire an opponent while the Islanders could make quick changes to keep the energy up. In the third period against Boston, the Islanders’ offense led charges into the zone, eventually creating the chance for Barzal to score. While great, it was a change in the Isles’ typical strategy.

Nelson Ices Game With Empty-Netter

The Islanders usually have a tough time when the opposing team pulls their goalie. For whatever reason, the Islanders typically don’t get far up ice when they face a 6-on-5 situation. However, the Bruins were barely threatening in the offensive zone inside the game’s final minute. The Islanders had cleared the puck three times without much opposition. As they cleared the puck again with 1:13 to go, Zdeno Chara found Brock Nelson in the neutral zone and scored the empty-net goal. It was a fitting ending for the Isles, as they desperately need wins, especially in the Metropolitan Division.

What’s Next?

The Islanders are off until Sunday, where they will face the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal is 9-33-7 this season and could be a jumping-off point for an Islanders winning streak. The Isles beat the Canadiens back in November 6-2 in Montreal. Brock Nelson had a hat-trick, and Anthony Beauvillier had three assists.

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