UNIONDALE, N.Y. — By the end, after the head-snapping action, the back-and-forth goals, the mistakes and oddly timed penalties, the Bruins had done for a second straight game what they had done only once previously this season. They had scored six goals Saturday in Philadelphia, and followed that up by putting another six-spot on the board Monday night.
This time it was against the Islanders, a team that had proven to be difficult for the Bruins to handle in two games this season. In those games, though, it had been more about the Bruins’ poor play. And while there were more moments of that again in Boston’s 6-3 defeat of the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum Monday, there was also more of the play that has sent them to a 4-0-1 record in their last five games.
“It’s obviously nice when goals are coming, but these games, they’re nerve-racking because you never know how they’re going to end up,” winger Brad Marchand said. “It could be 2-2 and then a team could explode and go 6-3, like we did tonight, but it’s tough if it goes the other way.
“We’re not big fans of playing games like this, but when we win I guess we’ll take it.”
Especially when his line keeps producing the way it has been.
The jokes started after the game. Marchand had matched Jarome Iginla’s point total from Saturday against the Flyers, a four-point effort that bolstered the Bruins in a game in which they were a bit too loose defensively.
“I’m just trying to do whatever [Iginla] does out there,” Marchand said, chuckling. “It’s not easy.”
But sometimes it did look easy out there, at least on the offensive end. Marchand scored the Bruins’ second goal of the game, at 4:50 of the second, on a feed from Patrice Bergeron, who had two points on the night. Marchand added an assist on a goal at 12:21 of the period — though the real beauty was the primary assist, a pass from Shawn Thornton that hit Matt Martin’s stick on its way to becoming a back-door goal for Reilly Smith — and two more in the third.
“We definitely have some confidence right now and there’s some chemistry,” Marchand said. “We’re getting some bounces, too. You need all those things to kind of go together to play well, and early on some of those bounces weren’t going in. We’d hit posts or miss the net, but right now we seem to be executing pretty well.
“We know it’s not going to be like this every night, but it’s definitely fun when it happens like this.”
It had looked early as if it was going to be an easy night for the Bruins, something they have yet to have against the Islanders this season. They led, 18-2, in shots on goal in the first when a power play turned things around for New York, with the Islanders recording the 15 of the next 16 shots.
“We finished on our heels there in that first,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “From that point on, into the end of the second period I thought we got really sloppy and shot ourselves in the foot with the way we gave them their goals. Giveaways, turnovers, bad decision-making, so it was really uncharacteristic of the way we play.”
The Islanders were able to play with speed, and so they were able to match the Bruins goal-for-goal for the first six goals of the game. The Bruins’ Loui Eriksson opened the scoring at 7:47 of the first, roofing a sharply angled shot. It was his first goal since he returned from a concussion he suffered Nov. 25.
After a Frans Nielsen score at 15:29 of the first, Marchand tied it at 4:50 of the second, the first of five alternating goals in the period: Michael Graber (8:20), Smith (12:21), Kyle Okposo (15:08, on a two-on-none caused when Dougie Hamilton was unable to corral a Smith pass), and Carl Soderberg (19:27, with the game-winner on a slick move to beat a tired Thomas Hickey, in Soderberg’s second straight game at center).
“It wasn’t the type of game that we like to play and that we want to play,” Bergeron said. “They’re a team that likes that. They have a lot of speed, great offense also on their side, so that run-and-gun type of game is not really our style. They took advantage of us a lot of times. Chad [Johnson] made some huge saves for us.”
But things turned around in the third for the Bruins, who finally were able to put the Islanders away with goals by Bergeron (at 2:17, as he was being hit) and Zdeno Chara (at 8:12, for his 500th NHL point). They played more of their game, and they were able to keep the Islanders off the board.
That resulted in yet another win, sending the Bruins home to face Tim Thomas and the Panthers Tuesday night while on one of their better runs this season.
“We’re playing great right now,” Soderberg said. “Maybe the game today wasn’t our best, but we won. Since the road trip to Chicago, we have been playing exactly the way we want.”