UNIONDALE, NY - Joe Thornton scored with 1:01 left in regulation to tie the game and force overtime with the New York Islanders Tuesday night. Unfortunately, with 29 seconds remaining in the extra session, former Bruin Shawn Bates beat Bruins defenseman Jiri Slegr in a foot race to the puck and wristed a shot past Hannu Toivonen for the game winning goal to seal the Islanders 4-3 victory. The Bruins have now earned a point in their last six games.
Heading into the third period, the two teams were knotted at 2-2.
At 4:39, Islanders rookie Chris Campoli took the puck into the zone and scored just inside the blue line, beating Bruins net minder Hannu Toivonen. The goal gave the Islanders the early third period lead, forcing the Bruins to play comeback all period.
Joe Thornton was able to tie the game at 3-3 with the gritty play he is best known for, just as Toivonen skated to the bench for the extra attacker. Using his size, Thornton was able to get himself to the net to follow his rebound, sliding the puck under a sprawled out Garth Snow, sending the game to overtime.
With time running out in the extra frame, Jason Blake sent Shawn Bates in on a breakaway. Bates beat Toivonen with a quick wrist shot for the 4-3 final.
Coach Sullivan was disappointed in the loss but acknowledged the team's desire to battle back. The Bruins will get back to practice tomorrow to continue to find a way to win.
"I thought we battled. They got a couple of fluky goals on us, but our guys stuck to it and we fought back in the hockey game," said Coach Mike Sullivan. "I thought we were much more disciplined tonight and it's a disappointing loss for us, but I think we're moving in the right direction."
The Islanders jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead, scoring just 52 seconds into the game on a goal by Oleg Kvasha. Later in the period, Janne Niinimaa scored his first of the season from the left circle to make it 2-0.
At 15:41, Boston got one back. Dave Scatchard received a pass from Shawn McEachern and fired a shot past Garth Snow for his third goal of the year to make it 2-1. The assist was McEachern's first point of the year.
The second period proved to be much better than the first for the Bruins, as they scored the only goal of the period to tie the game at 2-2. 10 minutes in, Joe Thornton drew the face off back to defenseman Nick Boynton who shot it through Garth Snow's legs. The Bruins had a great period, pouring on the scoring chances and outshooting the Islanders, 17-5.
It was a costly period for the Bruins though. Brian Leetch and Brad Isbister were both injured in the second and did not return. Leetch collided with Shawn Bates, injuring his right knee on the play. Leetch said it was his first knee injury as a professional.
"My knee is sore, but we'll find out tomorrow,'' said Leetch.