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NHL Boston BruinsNew York Islanders

Boston Bruins Start Weak, End Strong, Beat New York Islanders 4-2

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins had kind of a weak start, but put together a strong third period against the New York Islanders to end the night with a 4-2 win.

While some teams struggle to find scoring outside of their top line, the Bruins do manage to find goals from all over the lineup. Take the fourth line, the Merlot line, for example. Tonight was a good night for them. Shawn Thornton scored the first goal of the night, Gregory Campbell tied the game at two, plus Daniel Paille helped on Thornton’s goal and threw a big hit that resulted in a little scuffle with Paille and Thornton involved. (I believe the 10-minute misconduct that Thornton got for his involvement was too heavy-handed, though.)

Coach Claude Julien agreed that Merlot was on point tonight, saying that they helped keep the team going. Well, they are the energy line, after all!

Speaking of physicality, Milan Lucic–one of the most prolific hitters in the NHL right now–also got in a fight with Matt Carkner, who was with the Ottawa Senators last season. Dennis Seidenberg, back after his injury, also put up some big hits.

Keith Aucoin was the Islanders’ strongest arrow in the quiver because he scored both goals, the Massachusetts native entertaining his parents because they were in attendance. So was Ray Bourque, whose son Chris also got compliments from Julien postgame. He said that he’s seeing his confidence and team cohesion grow.

Two different goals were waved off: one by Matt Moulson that was wedged by Tuukka Rask‘s pads and one by Tyler Seguin, who now seems so hungry to score that I can practically feel it in my own bones. He quite nearly had an empty net goal at the end, but it just wasn’t meant to be this time. Don’t worry, Seguin, your first goal will come.

There were times when the Bruins looked sloppy: making mistakes and giving away the puck, especially to the speedy Michael Grabner. Their power play still needs work, but they remain perfect on the penalty kill. The second period wasn’t their best period ever, to say the least, but the energy surged back into the squad when Zdeno Chara got his first goal of the season. It was assisted by Lucic and Nathan Horton, a combination that I’ve been waiting quite a long time to mention in this context again.

Patrice Bergeron‘s goal late in the third period just sealed the deal–and gave Brad Marchand his 100th career point on an assist.

Other guys who did some hard work in this game: Johnny Boychuk, who blocked a shot that took him down to the ice on his stomach for a moment. He got up, played with some visible difficulty, took a moment for himself in the tunnel and came right back out not even five minutes later. Rich Peverley also quite nearly scored his first of the season after some good work getting the puck into New York’s zone.

It’s almost time for the team to make a decision on whether to send Dougie Hamilton back to his junior team. Considering he had two points tonight, got first star honors and even did a little on-the-bench dancing when the song “Teach Me How to Dougie” came on the PA, though, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

The Bruins have a rare thing happening now: a weekend of no games! They will face the Carolina Hurricanes next, but not until Jan. 28. This win, though, put Boston right back atop the Eastern Conference.