UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Out early again with a lead, tight as an Army recruit’s new pair of boots on defense, the Bruins rolled to a 4-0 win over the Islanders Saturday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum with goals from David Pastrnak, Matt Grzelcyk, Brad Marchand, and Charlie McAvoy.
The win, backed by Tuukka Rask’s fourth shutout this season, padded the Bruins’ lead atop the NHL standings. They are now 41-13-12 (94 points) and have 16 games remaining in the regular season.
Pastrnak’s goal, for the 1-0 lead, was his 47th this season, adding to his standing as the game’s No. 1 goal scorer.
The Bruins are now 12-3-0 in the 15 games since returning from the midseason bye break. They’re back at work Tuesday night in Tampa — the first of two meeting with the Lightning that could go a long way in settling whether the Bruins or Bolts finish first in the Atlantic Division. Upon game’s end here, the Bruins held a 9-point lead over Tampa, with the Bolts holding two games in hand.
■ Pastrnak hammered in No. 47 from the right wall, just seconds after Torey Krug and Patrice Bergeron missed on a bang-bang play in front of the net.
With Bergeron hauled down in front by Andy Greene, goalie Semyon Varlamov was slow to cover the right of the net, and the alert Pastrnak lasered in his shot from the outer edge of the circle.
■ Grzelcyk, without a goal since Nov. 19, connected for the 2-0 lead with what was intended to be pass from above the left circle. Instead, the shot ricocheted off ex-Bruin Johnny Boychuk in the slot and the Bruins were out in front by a pair with 6:50 to go in the first.
■ The Bruins played the final nine minutes of the opening period with only five defensemen after rookie Jeremy Lauzon exited with a laceration around his chin.
He raced to the bench in pain just after the 11-minute mark, sat their with a towel covering most of his face, then made his way to the room during a stop in play at 11:42. He was back on the bench to start the second period, his chin sutured.
■ Krug picked up his 36th assist of the season on Pastrnak’s 1-0 strike. He is on target to reach the 40-assist plateau for a fifth straight season.
■ Josh Bailey and Michael Dal Colle were wearing minus-2s on the scoresheet after 20 minutes. Bailey entered the day a team-worst minus-10. Boychuk ranked worst among the Islanders’ blue liners at minus-8.
■ After 20 minutes, the Boston back line had a collective line of 1-3—4. A goal by Grzelcyk. Assists from Krug, Brandon Carlo, and McAvoy. We know who’s buying dinner.
■ Bold charge to the net by Charlie Coyle at 3:42 of the second period. South Shore Charlie is playing with confidence. No telling how dangerous he can become if he can increase his “finish” skill. Coyle has moved up to the No. 1 power-play unit, acting as the net-front guy with Bergeron and Marchand.
■ Islanders forward Brock Nelson was injured near the 6:30 mark of the second period and headed to the room.
■ The Bruins missed a prime chance to salt it away midway through the second period when they failed to score on the power play, including a 32-second stretch at five on three.
■ Newcomer Nick Ritchie picked up his second minor of the day at 18:02 of the second, for a cross-check on Boychuk. Penalties happen, but Ritchie will have to be a bit more mindful. Handing the opponent power-play chances while working with a 2-0 lead: not helpful.