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New York Islanders

Plus/Minus: Islanders Take Down Bruins For 5th Time This Season

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New York Islanders Boston Bruins

The New York Islanders have played some of their best hockey against the Boston Bruins, and they continued that trend at TD Garden on Thursday night.

Down 2-0 early, the Islanders climbed back to a 4-3 win in overtime on Anthony Beauvillier’s game-winner less than 30 seconds into the extra period.

A strong third period helped the Islanders rally to their third straight win and second consecutive on the road. Overall against Boston this season, the Isles are 5-0.

Let’s break down what went right and wrong in this one.

Plus 

Beauvertime winner 

Shoutout to my buddy Nick who came up with that clever name. The Islanders winger has made it back-to-back games with an OT winner as the team remains in first in the division.

Nick Leddy did the hard work this time, driving the play wide down the left wing before flinging a shot at the net. Jaroslav Halak couldn’t corral it and Beauvillier tapped in the clincher.

It had been a slow start to the year for Beauvillier, who spent time on injured reserve and more recently went seven games without a point. But he’s now scored a goal in three straight and has four points in the span.

“It’s a privilege to be out there in overtime and have the chance to make your team win,” he said after the win. “It shows the trust that the coaching staff has in you. I take a lot of pride in that. I just want to do my job out there and I got fortunate there with the loose puck.”

Wahlstrom keeps scoring

Oliver Wahlstrom is becoming a valued scoring threat for the Islanders, and he showed just why again in Boston. With the game tied in crunch time, Wahlstrom was standing in front of the net and banked a backhander off Halak to put the Islanders in front, albeit briefly.

Now with goals in four of the last five games, Wahlstrom has nine overall and 16 points this season. His presence with Jean-Gabriel Pageau has given the Islanders much-needed depth from the third line.

With Beauvillier, that line was the best from the Islanders all game. At 5-on-5, they were the only trio with a Corsi For over 50 percent.

And here’s one more interesting tidbit; it was the second straight game at TD Garden where Wahlstrom scored. The last time he played in the building in 2019, he notched a goal for Boston College in the Hockey East title game.

“He’s a great player for us, but an even better person,” Pageau said of Wahlstrom. “He’s trying to learn every day that he comes to the rink. … When he’s got the puck he’s got a great shot.”

Boston beatdowns

The Islanders’ first win on home ice this year came against the Bruins, and since then, they’ve had control over the season series with their new division rival.

The last two games between the two have gone past regulation, with the previous matchup ending in a shootout and this one needing overtime. Whether it’s needed 60 minutes or more, the Islanders have had Boston’s number so far this season. Also of note, the Islanders held the Bruins’ potent top line point-less in this one.

Minus 

Bad first period

With fans in the the TD Garden stands for the first time this season, the Bruins got off to a nearly perfect start. They scored twice in the latter half of the period to jump out to an early lead.

Karson Kuhlman and Steven Kampfer had not scored a goal this season, but changed that Thursday. A couple of penalties had the Islanders on the penalty kill for almost four minutes in the first. Whether it was that or just a slow start, Boston controlled possession with over 62 percent of the shot attempts in the period.

Blowing the late lead

Wahlstrom’s clutch strike put the Islanders ahead with 2:56 left in regulation, just in time for the Islanders to potentially avoid overtime. Anders Bjork scored not even a minute later and the game did indeed need extra time.

It’s a small quibble, but it gave the Bruins a point in the standings. At this point in the year, anything is helpful and the Isles could’ve held them without one.

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