The game action lasted 60 minutes, part of a long day at NYCB’s Nassau Coliseum that included the jersey retirement ceremony of Butch Goring’s No. 91 and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that the Islanders will play all potential playoff games this season and all home games next season at the Coliseum as they await their new building at Belmont Park.
But the Bruins made short work of the slow-starting Islanders, who lost to NHL-leading Boston, 4-0, on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 13,917 that grew increasingly quiet during the course of the afternoon.
“They just started the game much better than we did,” said Cal Clutterbuck, who logged 10:08 in his first game since Patrice Bergeron’s skate blade slashed his left wrist in Boston on Dec. 19. “They were ready to start. We kind of stumbled out of the gate. Trying to dig ourselves out of a hole like that against a team like that is not really a recipe for success. There’s no need to get more philosophical than that.”
The Islanders (35-21-8), who hold the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card spot, were shut out for the third time in nine games and the fifth time this season.
The Bruins (41-13-12) took a 2-0 lead 13:10 into the game and Tuukka Rask made 25 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. He needed to make only seven stops on the Islanders’ six failed power-play chances.
“They did a great job clearing our first chance,” Anders Lee said. “We had some good first looks and they either blocked it or found the rebound and got it down [ice]. We’ve got to be able to find those secondary opportunities and chances.”
On Thursday night in St. Louis, the Islanders lost in overtime, 3-2, to the reigning champion Blues, who beat the Bruins in seven games in last season’s Stanley Cup Final. The Islanders had only four total shots in the last two periods of that game and were held to 12 shots in the first two periods on Saturday.
“The past two games are the best two teams in the league, really,” defenseman Scott Mayfield said. “I think [the Bruins] are ready for the playoffs. We saw that today and we saw what we need to do to be ready for that level. That’s what it’s going to take the rest of the year and into the postseason.”
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead at 4:30 of the first period when David Pastrnak scored his 47th goal with a shot from the right boards into a virtually open net. Semyon Varlamov (25 saves) was knocked out of the play by Bergeron, but the Islanders opted not to challenge for goalie interference because Andy Greene’s stick had tripped Bergeron.
Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk made it 2-0 at 13:10 of the first when his shot from the left point hit defenseman Johnny Boychuk’s leg in the high slot and deflected past Varlamov.
“I thought we lost the game in the first 10 minutes,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We just played the top two teams, big, grinding teams that don’t give you much. We fell down two pucks. We lost coverage on those goals. They executed.”
Brad Marchand’s wraparound at 11:06 of the third period extinguished any lingering doubts about the outcome. Long Beach’s Charlie McAvoy added a power-play goal at 16:26.
“It’s a tight game, but it’s tight after the first 10,” Lee said. “Just a brutal start. You can’t have a start like that against the best team in the league.”
Notes & quotes: Greene logged 18:19 with three blocked shots after missing Thursday’s loss at St. Louis. He appeared to injure his left shoulder or arm in a 4-3 overtime loss to the visiting Rangers on Tuesday night . . . Defenseman Ryan Pulock had five blocked shots . . . Mayfield’s brother, U.S. Air Force pilot Patrick Mayfield, was honored as the game’s Military Hero and presented an Islanders jersey by Hall of Famer Billy Smith. “I know he was surprised,” Scott Mayfield said . . . Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal each had a five-game point streak snapped . . . It was the fourth straight sellout at the Coliseum . . . Noah Dobson, Tom Kuhnhackl, Ross Johnston, Andrew Ladd and Otto Koivula were the healthy scratches.
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