Thursday, October 23, 2014
Bruins Lose 3-2 to Islanders But That's Overshadowed By Chara's Unknown Injury
All in all, it was a really terrible night for the Bruins. They lost 3-2 to the Islanders at TD Garden but that is the least of their worries since captain Zdeno Chara left in the first period and never returned.
After the game, Claude Julien wouldn't specify if it was an upper body or lower body injury but TSN's Aaron Ward (a former teammate of Chara) was the first to report it was his left knee and he was going to the hospital. Yikes! Ward later said Chara will be out 4-6 weeks with a knee ligament injury and they'll reevaluate it after that to see if he needs surgery.
This was supposed to be Johnny Boychuk's triumphant return to Boston for the first time. He was fine: +1 with one shot and two blocked shots in a team-high 23:18 but few would have predicted that he'd be overshadowed by another ex-Bruin-Chad Johnson. Boston's backup goaltender from last season got the surprise start and made 30 saves to earn his second win of the season. New York's starter Jaroslav Halak has been struggling a little so perhaps a goalie controversy is brewing on Long Island?
Boston (4-5-0) was chasing it all game, going down 1-0 and 3-1 before finally waking up in the third period. The fact that those final 20 minutes were their best of the season was inconsequential since their hapless second period (the worst of the season) buried them. Let's also give credit to New York (5-2-0), their early season success doesn't look like a fluke.
As good teams usually do, the Isles also got their fair share of breaks starting with Frans Nielsen's goal. The puck deflected off Dougie Hamilton's skate right to Nielsen for his first goal of the season at 6:21 of the first period. Bruins backup goaltender Niklas Svedberg (35 saves) had no chance to stop it.
Milan Lucic finally got a goal, it only took him nine games. He tipped in Seth Griffith's pass at 18:21 of the first period with David Krejci providing the second assist (and extending his point streak to five games).
One of the best American players that you never hear about for some reason-Kyle Okposo-made it 2-1 Islanders at 1:30 of the second period. John Tavares had the primary assist, giving him an NHL-high 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists). Okposo followed up his initial shot for the goal, his third of the season.
You knew it was New York's night when scrub Cal Clutterbuck (awesome name) extended their lead to 3-1 at 9:27 of the second period. He was wide open and Martin threw almost a no-look pass to him from behind the net for his first goal of the season.
After getting embarrassed in the second (outscored 2-0 and outshot 12-6), the Bruins showed some pride with a dominant third period. It felt like they were on a power play for basically the entire time with an unreal amount of zone time, unfortunately their finishing resembled the first few brutal games of this season when they couldn't score to save their lives.
It's scary to say it but Chris Kelly is playing the best hockey of at least his Bruins career so he has arguably been their best player in October. Haha I realize that probably explains why they are currently under .500. He also pushed his point streak to five games (tying a career-high) with a timely goal at 9:49 of the third period. Johnson's only juicy rebound (that cost him at least) of the night went right to Kelly who was on the doorstep to put it in. Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson had the assists as they've been Boston's most effective line as well.
Boston has practice tomorrow before they head to Toronto for Saturday night's game at the Air Canada Centre (7, NESN). The Bruins typically own the Maple Leafs (3-3-1) but needless to say, if they lose Chara for a significant amount of time, that could totally shell-shock them (as it seemed to in the 2nd period tonight). He has been remarkably durable in his Bruins career: this is his ninth season with Boston and the most games he's ever missed is five. Ugh, let's hope for the best and that somehow it's not as bad as it sounds.