Islanders fans at Nassau Coliseum did not let a single shift pass without smothering Zdeno Chara with a blanket of boos, but it was the four unanswered Islanders goals that left the 6-9 defenseman and his Boston Bruins truly rattled.
Trailing 2-0 for almost the entire first two periods, the Islanders scored four straight to beat the Bruins 4-2 in front of a crowd of 12,119.
Matt Moulson tallied a key power-play goal late in the second to cut Boston's 2-0 lead in half and defenseman Jack Hillen gave the Islanders the clincher with his go-ahead goal in the third. Michael Grabner and PA Parenteau also scored to help knock off the Northeast Division-leading Bruins.
“It’s one of the best teams in the league,” Hillen said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves. It just goes to show what our team is capable of doing.”
Hillen had a team-leading four shots on goal in the first period before his slapshot deflected in off Dennis Seidenberg at 5:58 of the third.
“I didn’t want to pass up any shots, especially against a guy like Tim Thomas, who is one of the best goalies in the league,” said Hillen, who finished with seven of the Islanders 41 shots on goal.
The Islanders are now tied with the Bruins for the most points (49) in the Eastern Conference since December 16, when they ended a one-win-in-21-games skid with a 3-2 win over Anaheim.
“Unbelievable effort by the team,” said goaltender Al Montoya, who made 26 saves. “This is phenomenal to get a win against this team in our building.”
The building was a hostile environment for Chara, who tallied the Bruins’ second goal of the game.
The derision directed his way likely had nothing to do with the fact he is a former Islander—Chara was a third-round pick in 1996—but rather the perceived bias by the league’s decision-makers in the discipline department.
Chara recently escaped punishment by the league for his devastating hit on Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, while the Islanders have received three suspensions and a $100,000 fine in the last month.
The imposing blue-liner seemed unfazed in the second period, however, when he built upon a 1-0 Bruins lead with a 5-on-3 power-play goal.
But the game changed on Moulson’s own power-play goal, which came with two seconds remaining in the period.
“Probably the turning point in the game,” coach Jack Capuano said.
Converting a nice, no-look feed from John Tavares, Matt Moulson notched his team-leading 29th goal of the season.
Both him and Michael Grabner, who knotted the game at 2 with his 28th of the season in the third, inched a goal closer to the 30-goal milestone.
PA Parenteau was automatically awarded the team’s fourth goal with less than ten seconds remaining in the game after being dragged down on a solo breakaway facing an empty Bruins net.
Parenteau now has a career-high 16 on the season.
With their fourth win in five games, the Islanders are now 10 points behind the Rangers, who hold the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.
“Confidence and belief in one another, for sure. We’ve got a young group in there,” Capuano said about the team’s recent success. “They’re focused, their attention to detail is excellent. When you do those things, you have a chance to win hockey games.”