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  • What we learned: Bruins’ offensive struggles continue

    Ryan Ames February 18, 2022

    The Boston Bruins scored first, but the New York Islanders scored the last four in Thursday night’s 4-1 loss at UBS Arena.

    Taylor Hall put the Bruins ahead late in the opening frame on a shot from the goal line that Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin should have stopped for Hall’s 11th strike of the season.

    The Islanders roared back in the second with a goal from J.G. Pageau to tie it at 1-1, then potted three more goals in the third from Noah Dobson, Mat Barzal and Brock Nelson for their second win over Boston this season.

    “They did all the things I think they typically do when they’re on,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We did have a chance on the power play tonight [in the third] and that let us down. That would’ve been a timely one.”

    Linus Ullmark recorded 25 saves in the loss, dipping his overall record to 16-8-1.

    Here’s what we learned following another loss in Long Island.

    Boston’s scoring has dried up

    The Bruins have only managed to find the back of the net four times over its last four games.

    Without Brad Marchand, who is still serving his six-game suspension, the Bruins have encountered difficulties on the offensive end. The results speak for themselves. Boston is 1-2-1 during its recent cold stretch on offense.

    “Scoring goals is obviously something we need to do more of to not be playing these games where we’re up by one and battling just to hold onto the lead, ” Brandon Carlo said. “I think it all starts with the way we’re playing through the blue lines, the neutral zone. I think we can be a little smarter there in all facets, just moving the puck and getting it deep.”

    David Pastrnak hasn’t scored since last Tuesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins; Patrice Bergeron just returned to the lineup against the Islanders after missing the previous three games to injury, and Hall picked up his first tally since the All-Star Break on Thursday.

    Craig Smith only has one goal in his last 13 games, Charlie Coyle scored against the New York Rangers for his first goal in seven games on Tuesday and Trent Frederic also has one marker in his last seven games, with a month-long injury absence spliced in the middle of that time period.

    Those six guys made up Boston’s top-six forwards against the Islanders. Only Hall broke through with a goal despite the top two lines firing 16 of the team’s 27 shots on goal.

    The second period woes continued

    Since the All-Star break, the Bruins have been outscored 7-0 during the second period of play.

    Pageau’s equalizer Thursday night came during the, you guessed it, second period, and the Islanders furthered the trend of the opposition by turning the tide in the middle frame.

    The hosts outshot the Bruins, 13-7. To make matters worse for Boston, New York’s game-tying goal came on the power play after a textbook trip from Erik Haula.

    Given their recent offensive rut, the Bruins really can’t afford to take any period off, but the second period seems to be the one of choice for whatever reason.

    “We were the better team in the first period,” Cassidy said. “They’re at home and they obviously got a lot of pride, and what happens a lot is if a home team doesn’t have a good first period, they’ll push in the second. We’ve addressed that. It happens to us a lot.”

    The Bruins scored their only goal in the first and outshot the Islanders, 13-6.

    The Islanders have the Bruins’ number

    Thursday’s loss sunk Boston to 3-7 in its last 10 regular-season contests against the Islanders.

    The Islanders have won five of the eight meetings during the 2020-21 campaign and are now two-for-two this season, with one more match scheduled for March 26. Add in the fact that the Islanders took out the Bruins in six games during last year’s playoffs, and it’s safe to say that the Bruins wouldn’t mind not lining up against the Blue-and-Orange for a while.

    “Like I said before, I don’t care what their record is. They’re such a hard team to play against,” Hall said. “When they’re on and have four lines rolling like they did tonight, it’s a tough matchup.”

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