Tavares Milestone Not Enough in 3-1 Loss to Bruins

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John Tavares scored his 200th career goal, Thomas Greiss stopped 28-of-31 but the Islanders gave up a late goal in each period and fell to the Boston Bruins 3-1 Saturday afternoon.

“You can’t have unforced errors in this league and that’s exactly what happened back-to- back games for our hockey club,” Islanders’ head coach Jack Capuano said on MSG Network. “I don’t think we gave them one scoring chance in the third, I thought we battled back but at the end of the day if you want to break it down its that unforced error once again.”

Toward the end of the first period, Thomas Hickey was called for hooking and the Bruins capitalized. Loui Eriksson took a Ryan Spooner pass  from the right side of the net and made a power move across the crease to slam the puck past Greiss  at the 18:26 mark to give the Bruins the 1-0 lead.

The Islanders were outshot 14-5 in the first as they got off to yet another sluggish start during an afternoon game. New York came out with a little more jump in the middle frame, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey both clanked shots off the post bust Boston still held a one-goal advantage.

The Islanders would finally find the scoresheet 10:48 into the second. Josh Bailey made a nice pinch along the boards to keep the puck in the Bruins zone and fed Kyle Okposo behind the net.  John Tavares found some open ice in the slot, took Okposo’s feed and roofed a backhander past Tuukka Rask tying the game 1-1.

The goal was Tavares’ 26th of the year and 200th of his young career.

“When you talk about elite players and great players, the one thing that impresses me about Johnny is he is your hardest working player,” Capuano explained. “When I first got here, it was more or less trying to teach him his play away from the puck and I never wanted to take away his creativity, he’s got great hockey IQ and he’s always been a great goal-scorer. I just tried to guide him the best I can but at the end of the day he is our hardest working guy and that is why he has had success.”

However the Islanders could not escape the period with the tie. With just 8 ticks left in the second, David Krejci danced with the puck just inside the Islanders’ blue line. Krejci found David Pastrnak alone to the left of Greiss and Pastrnak wristed the puck in the net to give Boston the 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.

The Islanders tried to find their game in the third but were unable to solve Rask who made 25 saves on 26 shots. Pastrnak tallied his second of the game,  a slap shot from the right circle past Griess with 2:34 left to seal it for the Bruins.

The Islanders will head home to face the Florida Panthers, Monday night at the Barclays Center.

Notes: Islanders penalty kill went 1-for-2… Nick Leddy logged a game-high 23:52… Matt Martin had a game-high seven hits.

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