Final: Boston 6, New York 3
Recap: In a game that began with the Bruins holding an 18-2 edge in shots, the first period somehow ended in a 1-1 tie. Loui Eriksson ended an 11-game goal drought 7:47 in, but the Isles evened things up when Frans Nielsen roofed a rebound over Chad Johnson with less than five minutes to go in the frame.
In the second, Boston went back on top on a mesmerizing passing sequence, with Reilly Smith hitting Patrice Bergeron in the slot, and No. 37 sliding the puck over to an open Marchand down in front of the net for the goal. The two teams traded goals the rest of the way, with Michael Grabner tying the game at two, Smith putting the B's ahead 3-2, Kyle Okposo cashing in on a 2-on-0 to make it 3-3 and Carl Soderberg finishing off a five-goal period by blowing past a New York defender and beating Kevin Poulin to make it 4-3.
In the third, Boston put the game away. Bergeron's 14th goal of the season upped the lead to two, and a Zdeno Chara strike with 8:12 gone chased Poulin. That was all she wrote.
Records: Boston 33-15-3, 69 points; New York 21-26-8, 50 points
Key Play of the Game: The Isles had just erased a lead for the third time and it seemed like the game would head to the second intermission tied 3-3. Not so fast. Milan Lucic sent a pass to Soderberg in the neutral zone. He turned on the jets, got around Thomas Hickey, got Poulin to go down and put a shot up and over the sprawled-out netminder.
Connolly's Commendations: We'll keep rolling with the third-line love. While they may have only had a point apiece (Eriksson and Soderberg with goals, Dan Paille with an assist), it'd been a tough month for just about anyone playing in the B's third forward unit. With the Swedes' goal droughts now behind them, maybe they can finally take off.
Three players that have had no trouble racking up points of late are Marchand, Bergeron and Smith. The trio lit it up tonight. Marchand had 1-3-4 totals, while Bergeron and Smith had a goal and an assist each. No. 63's monster game gives him 11 points in the last six contests.
Connolly's Critiques: Pretty hard to believe, but David Krejci wasn't in on a single one of Boston's six goals. He did block six shots (!), but in addition to being pointless, No. 46 won just 4-of-17 faceoffs on the night. One can't be too upset, however, given he had three assists on Saturday against the Flyers.
Notes: Chara's goal was the 500th point of his NHL career, which began with the Islanders. ... Boston allowed 11 goals in the three-game series against the Isles, which New York won with two victories earlier this year.
Final Thoughts: The Isles lived up to their billing in this one. They flexed their offensive muscle, led by Kyle Okposo's three-point effort. But, as expected, their defense and goaltending wasn't up to the task. The Bruins, quite clearly, more than took advantage of that.
Next: The B's will return to Boston to host the Panthers Tuesday night.