NEW YORK — In a game with more defensive breakdowns and mistakes than these two teams typically allow, the Bruins came back once, and again.
Patrice Bergeron’s overtime winner gave the visitors a 3-2 win at Barclays Center on Saturday night, the Bruins erasing the bad memory of a lost third-period lead.
With 3:27 left in OT, Patrice Bergeron had time to collect the puck in the slot, rear back, and fire past Semyon Varlamov, giving Boston (27-8-11) its third straight ‘W’ to open a three-game road trip.
Bergeron (19 goals) had space because Brad Marchand drew a tripping call 40 seconds into overtime, causing Brock Nelson to stick out his foot as he performed a spin-o-rama toward the net.
The Bruins finished 1 for 2 on the power play, and improved to 3-5 in overtime. They remain 0-6 in shootouts. That’s a problem for another day.
The Bruins, flying high after winning two with their moms around, didn’t score six or five goals, as they did in their last two games against Western Conference teams. The Islanders, having allowed an Eastern Conference-low 108 goals coming in, don’t typically surrender that kind of heat. But the pucks were flying (New York led in shots, 37-30, in regulation) and the penalties were low (one each; neither team scored on the power play).
Defenseman John Moore put the Bruins up, 2-1, at 5:48 of the third period. It was the first lead for Boston, which saw the ice badly tilted in the first period (shots: 14-5, Islanders). They spent the final 40 minutes climbing back and looked to be in control when Moore’s slapper from the point, which never got more an an inch or two off the ice, snuck past a screened Varlamov (30 saves on 33 shots).
Moore’s second goal of the year happened after burly Bruin Brett Ritchie arrived just in time to set a screen with defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Varlamov may not have seen it.
The Bruins, who erased a second-period deficit on Jake DeBrusk’s goal, lost the lead on Mathew Barzal’s goal at 9:33 of the third. Barzal escaped from David Krejci in the slot, and Josh Bailey found him with a centering pass. Barzal chipped it past Tuukka Rask (35 saves on 37 shots), who was otherwise stellar.
Obvervations from the game:
■ The Bruins had trouble containing Barzal on the opening goal. The Islanders’ leading scorer (16-19—35 coming in) rushed the zone and circled the net, and while Anthony Beauvillier and Josh Bailey set a screen, Barzal found Scott Mayfield out high. The defenseman fired through traffic for his fifth goal of the year.
■ The Islanders kept pushing the Bruins early. In three minutes that followed, they out-attempted the visitors, 9-1. Rask calmly denied a Ryan Pulock slapper from the slot, and stayed in front of a Leo Komarov tip. Beauvillier’s short-side deflection rattled through Rask’s pads, but the keeper covered it. Rask stopped 24 of 25 shots through two periods.
■ Ex-Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuck, who played a lighthearted game of catch with Torey Krug in the neutral zone during warmups, wasn’t as nice during the game. Johnny Rocket felled two Bruins with his heavy slapper, taking out Joakim Nordstrom in the first and Charlie McAvoy in the second. Both didn’t miss a shift.
■ Defenseman Matt Grzelcyk wasn’t as lucky. His night ended on his second shift of the game, some 5:25 in. Grzelcyk appeared to have a lower-body issue before the end of his shift, when New York’s Derick Brassard slashed him on the back of the leg.
■ The Bruins were lucky to be down one goal after 20 minutes. They were outshot, 14-5, in the opening period. They did hold the Islanders to zero shots in the final 8:11, including two minutes a penalty kill, which could have been a turning point.
■ Anders Bjork, trying to stick as a second-line right wing, did not play the final 8:30 of period one. Bjork, who stumbled, fell and gave away the puck on his final puck touch, was replaced by DeBrusk. Nordstrom, the fourth-liner, moved into DeBrusk’s slot. But Bjork was back on the second line to start the middle frame, and had jump.
■ The Bruins responded at 8:33 of the period, DeBrusk tying the score. He pounced on a sharp-angle rebound that clanked off Mayfield and eluded Varlamov. It was DeBrusk’s third goal in two games, and came after he factored in the final four goals of Thursday’s win over Winnipeg. With 14 goals, DeBrusk is heating up.
■ McAvoy, still without a goal on the year, made the goal happen by activating from his own blue line, taking a feathery cross-ice pass from David Krejci, and taking the open ice in front of him. He cut into the slot and put a shot on goal through traffic. McAvoy (0-16—16 in 43 games) is creating plenty of offense.
■ He also broke up a 2-on-1 on his next shift after partner Zdeno Chara fell at the opposing blue line. Brock Nelson tried to feed Anders Lee cross-ice, but McAvoy stabbed the pass out of the air. More strong play from young Bruins defensemen in the second: after Barzal blocked a shot and went the other way, Brandon Carlo stayed with Barzal and disrupted him with his long reach before he shot.
■ Varlamov was under some heat as the second wore on, the Bruins finishing the second with 17 shots. When Mayfield was sent off for roughing Charlie Coyle at 14:07, the Islanders netminder dove to deny Pastrnak on a wraparound, and snared a Marchand snapper off the rush when Torey Krug sent him in with a long, banked outlet. The Bruins’ power play couldn’t grab the lead, and Mayfield had a break-in out of the box. He scooped a backhand over the net.