BOSTON — It was a frustrating night for the Islanders. They couldn’t break through a strong defensive effort from the Bruins in a 3-1 loss and the frustration extended to a couple of ugly moments in the third period, when Boston took major penalties for infractions that left the Isles angry.
First, the game. The Islanders surrendered yet another power-play goal, this one to Brad Marchand off the rush in the second period, to fall behind. Jake DeBrusk scored at 6:45 of the third to deepen the hole, Anders Lee answered at 16:52 but the Isles could not rally from two down late for a second straight night.
They threw 61 shots toward Tuukka Rask, with 21 blocked, an indicator of how much the Bruins clamped down once the Isles gained the zone.
“We didn’t do a great job of getting pucks through,” coach Doug Weight said after the Islanders wrapped a 1-2-1 road trip. They have won just once in the last five. “That’s what they do, they’ve got big, long D. We do need to do a better job of getting open for our D in the zone.”
Marchand’s goal came off the rush and what Weight termed a bad read by the right side of his penalty-kill unit that allowed the Bruins forward to speed in and beat Jaroslav Halak through the pads at 10:51 of the second. It was the third straight power-play goal allowed by the Isles over the past two games, a streak snapped by a brief, 13-second kill in the third, but it was still difficult to swallow after all the work put in on the PK on Friday here.
“A punch in the gut,” Weight said. “We can’t let their best player in off the rush like that.”
In the third, the extracurricular stuff emerged. John Tavares and Marchand collided early in the first shift of the period and Marchand went hunting; he delivered a high, late hit that sent Tavares crumpling, drawing a major for interference but no game misconduct. The Isles ended up with just 72 seconds of power-play time, after taking two minors of their own, and did not convert.
“I’m fine,” Tavares said. “I think the video speaks for itself on that one. Don’t have much else to say.”
Later in the third, David Backes gave an extra shove to Thomas Hickey, drawing Andrew Ladd into a scrum. Backes then head-butted Ladd, drawing a major and a game misconduct. Lee’s goal came a few seconds after that penalty expired.
“Couple stupid plays on their part,” Ladd said. “[Marchand’s] not tall enough to hit Johnny in the head with a clean hit. Didn’t really like that. Other one, not sure what he was doing; drove his helmet right through my face. Not a big fan of either one.”
The Islanders rallied to get a point in Pittsburgh on Thursday with two goals in the final 4:53, but there was nothing gained on Saturday. Halak was sharp with 30 saves, but the Marchand goal leaked through and this was not a night the Isles could make up for any shortcomings with their usual onslaught.
Especially on the power play, which is now in a 2-for-18 rut.
“I just thought we were a little sloppy there all night,” Ladd said. “They can be real tough on you and it was on us to just execute better.”