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Islanders Tricked by ‘Perfection Line’ in Game 1

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New York Islanders lose 2

BOSTON — There were no surprises for the New York Islanders in their Game 1 loss to the Boston Bruins, especially from the always lethal “perfection line.” Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron made New York pay with a combined six points on Saturday and a hat trick for Pastrnak.

It was Charlie McAvoy’s early third-period goal that was the game-winner, but it was the play of the top line and Pastrnak that allowed that moment to occur in the first place. And his third goal of the night ended any hope of an Islanders comeback in the third period.

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“We have to challenge them a little bit more. We backed off, they’re going to make plays through you,” Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said. “We have to tighten up there. We’re going to need more from our lines. I really felt that I had really probably one line that was really on top of their game.

“The other lines had spurts, but we’re going to have to be, right through our whole line up, we’re going to have to be much better.”

The space that the New York Islanders allowed for Pastrnak and his linemates was clear on all three of his goals on Saturday. On his power-play goal, he was allowed to sit in the faceoff circle all alone in the perfect spot to collect the rebound that Ilya Sorokin had given up.

He buried his opportunity.

When Pastrnak scored with 8:52 left in the second period to put Boston back in front, he skated undetected towards the net in the perfect spot yet again to pick up the rebound. The puck went right to him and by the time Ryan Pulock noticed Pastrnak there it was too late.

He scored again.

And when Pastrnak completed the hat trick, he was able to skate right by the New York Islanders in the neutral zone and then into the slot, where he fired his wrist shot by Ilya Sorokin to send an avalanche of hats onto the ice from the stands. There were some who felt that Taylor Hall interfered with Dobson and Pelech, but the Islanders had already put themselves in a precarious spot.

“They did nothing that we were surprised by,” Andy Greene said. “A couple of them, Pastrnak likes to sit in that area over there. That’s a little soft area there. A couple of bouncing pucks and deflections right to him and he’s not going to miss those. So we just have to make sure we’re just aware over there and then just try to limit his opportunities.

“Not just him, the whole line, and that’s what I take out of it tonight.”

The “perfection line” played just as advertised on Saturday night. Their 17 shot attempts five-on-five, accordng to Natural Stat Trick, were the most of the four Boston lines, as were their 16 scoring chances. Four of those were high danger.

The Islanders will have a day to regroup and figure out how to contain Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron. They have shown during the First Round that they can keep some of the NHL’s most dynamic scorers off the board, and they’ll need to dig down in their bag of tricks to do it again when the puck drops for Game 2 against Boston on Monday.

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