Kevin Poulin pulled for Evgeni Nabokov after allowing six goals as Islanders are beaten by Bruins
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There were no blown leads this time, no heroic rallies or replay overturns.
This was just a simple thumping by the Bruins, a 6-3 Islanders loss in which they pulled even three times, gave the lead back each time and were outworked in the crucial parts of the third period. They will bring a three-game winless skid into the Bronx for Wednesday night's Stadium Series game against the Rangers.
"That's three pretty good teams we just played," Kyle Okposo said of the Penguins, Blues and Bruins, from whom the Islanders pulled only a single point in three straight at Nassau Coliseum. "Obviously, one point is not good enough at this stage. We've got to win games."
Okposo did his part, contributing to all three Islanders goals after Jack Capuano broke up his productive top line midway through the first period.
The Islanders were being outshot 15-1 and were down 1-0 when Capuano moved Okposo and Michael Grabner to Frans Nielsen's wings.
Okposo set up Nielsen to make it 1-1 at 15:29 of the first, then set up Grabner to tie it at 2-2 at 8:20 of the second. Grabner and Okposo combined on a two-on-none break for a goal by Okposo that made it 3-3 at 15:08 of the second.
But as happened twice earlier, the Islanders responded with one mistake and it was behind Kevin Poulin. Carl Soderberg put on a speed burst past Thomas Hickey in the final minute of the second and beat Poulin with a wrist shot from in close with 32.7 seconds to go, restoring Boston's lead heading to the final period.
"That was obviously a big goal," Capuano said.
The Islanders, who were 0-for-5 on the power play, began the third period with the man advantage, anchored by Lubomir Visnovsky, who returned after missing 46 games with a concussion. Just 17 seconds after that power play expired, Patrice Bergeron buried a feed from Brad Marchand for a two-goal lead, with Marchand easily picking Andrew MacDonald's pocket behind the Islanders' net.
Zdeno Chara scored on a soft bouncer from the point at 11:48, driving Poulin from the net. He was replaced by Evgeni Nabokov, who made his first appearance since suffering a quadriceps injury Jan. 6.
"There's a few guys that are struggling, no question," Capuano said when asked about MacDonald's difficulties. "There's a few guys trying to play through [struggles]. It's a grind."
The Islanders head to the NHL's spotlight today and tomorrow after taking steps back. They gave away 2-0 leads to the Penguins and Blues, then felt robbed by the NHL after Thomas Vanek's apparent overtime winner on Saturday was overturned against St. Louis.
Monday night was the first game in a long while in which the Islanders seemed overmatched at many turns, or at least at the key points after pulling even or with chances to tie.
They lost 10 of their first 33 games this season by at least three goals, but this was the first game in the last 22 in which the Islanders were beaten by at least three. They have allowed at least three goals in six straight games and in 42 of their last 55.
"We've got to come out stronger to start the third," Grabner said. "A 4-3 game, one period to play at home."