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  • Bruins-Isles takeaways: Charlie Coyle and the second line lead the way

    James Garrison November 10, 2023

    Behind their steady defense and goaltending, the Bruins embarked on another strong start to the season. But Boston’s offense took center stage in Thursday’s win over the New York Islanders.

    Trent Frederic kicked off the scoring to begin a productive night for Boston’s second line, delivering a slick wrist shot from the slot for his third goal of the season on a feed from James van Riemsdyk.

    “JVR made five outstanding first passes,” head coach Jim Montgomery said. “Frederic and Coyle always had chemistry together…played well together, so it was really nice to see.”

    The Islanders answered Frederic’s goal with a power play tally from Brock Nelson with 2:37 left in the first period. 

    The Bruins countered with a power play tally of their own in the second period. Charlie Coyle finished off an excellent triangle passing play with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha. Coyle added two more goals and an assist and also notched the 400th point of his NHL career.

    With an opportunity to extend their lead by two goals in the third period, the Bruins hit a bump in the road. Brad Marchand coughed up the puck at the blue line, which led to Simon Holmstrom’s shorthanded tally.

    But Boston quickly atoned for its mistake. On the same power play, Pastrnak found a chink in the armor of Ilya Sorokin, as his wrister just squeaked over the goal-line for the go-ahead goal.

    Boston’s second line of van Riemsdyk-Coyle-Frederic continued its productive night in the third period, adding an insurance tally off the stick of Coyle with 10:36 remaining. 

    Coyle finished off his first career hat trick by tapping home the empty netter from an unselfish feed by Pastrnak. 

    “They’re incredibly unselfish and thoughtful people,” Montgomery said. “And it shows in the way they love playing for each other.”

    Here’s what we learned as the Bruins took care of business with a 5-2 victory over the Islanders. 

    Coyle’s hat trick highlights a dominating performance from the second-line

    Six hundred forty-six pounds are evenly distributed on Boston’s second line. 

    Coyle, van Riemsdyk and Frederic showed promise when they skated together a few weeks ago, and the trio re-asserted their dominance upon their reunion Thursday night. The second line was heavily involved in both of Boston’s even-strength goals.

    “It’s been fun playing with [Coyle] and Freddy,” van Riemsdyk said. “I feel like when I’m out there I feel very comfortable knowing where they’re gonna be at. We’re making plays too because I think we’re just reading off each other very well.”

    Not only do the three have a major size advantage over most of their opponents, but they all possess heavy-possession skill sets. On Thursday, they overwhelmed the Islanders with their forechecking ability and puck management.

    “Sometimes you’re just on the end result of some really good plays by your linemates,” Coyle said. 

    Boston’s man advantage had a net productive night.

    It wasn’t an entirely clean night for Boston’s man-advantage. But in the end, it was a net positive. 

    The Bruins tallied two power-play goals, thus extending their streak to a season-high three straight games with a man-advantage marker. With their fluid puck movement, the Bruins showcased cohesion and urgency on the man advantage, especially after Pastrnak quickly countered the Isles’ shorthanded tally early in the third.

    “I’ve got to give credit to our leaders who were on the ice: Pasta and Marchy,” Montgomery said of Boston’s third-period power play attempt. “I thought [the shorthanded goal] was a little bit of a bad break…but the response was great. I thought that was one of our best power plays.”

    The Islanders converted on a bang-bang 2-on-1 following an unlucky turnover by Marchand at the offensive blue line. Outside of that mistake, the Bruins had one of their strongest power play performances of the season. 

    The Bruins showed pushback following Holmstrom’s shorthanded tally.

    Murphy’s law seemed to strike the Bruins, as they led 2-1 during a third-period power play. The Bruins lost momentum after relinquishing the lead on the man advantage. 

    The Islanders appeared poised to steal two points following Holmstrom’s shorthanded tally. The Bruins, however, pushed back with Pastrnak’s power-play marker and Coyle’s second and third goals.

    “[The Islanders] play well with leads,” Frederic said. “We try to not let that happen. You know every night when you play them it’s gonna be a battle. There’s not really easy pucks out there.”

    At that moment, the Bruins took care of business just like they have through their first 13 games. There’s a sense of purposefulness that is driving this team right now and is one of the main reasons they’re off to an 11-1-1 start. 

    “That can be one of those moments in the game where you don’t want to let it get away from you,” van Riemsdyk said. “I think we had a good response and it was good that we were able to get right back down there and get it back.”

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