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Opposing Locker Room: Homecoming Ruined

by Evan Sporer / Boston Bruins


News — After narrowly losing in their last contest to the New York Rangers in overtime on Wednesday, the Bruins returned home to Boston hoping to take a bite out of the other half of the Big Apple.

But when the B’s met the Islanders at the TD Garden, it was a pair of homegrown Massachusetts product that caused the Bruins fits.

In the end though, the boys in the Black & Gold did enough to secure two points.

The Bruins were able to rally back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Islanders 4-2. Both New York goals were scored by Keith Aucoin, a Waltham, Mass. product, and a face that’s been familiar to the Bruins having played for the Washington Capitals the past four seasons.

“I had a lot of my family here tonight,” said Aucoin, who registered his first multi-goal game of his eight-year NHL career. “I played a lot of games here, especially in the playoffs. To be on the board tonight, it was a pretty good feeling to do in front of my family and friends.”

With the Bruins leading 1-0 early in the first, Aucoin knotted things up when he found a pocket of space in front of the crease, and redirected a Colin McDonald feed home to level the score.

“Any time you come back to your hometown, I think the first shift you’re obviously a little bit nervous, and keep the emotions in check,” said Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano. “I thought both those players played pretty well for us tonight. It was good for them.”

Aucoin would give the Islanders the lead in the second, when an errant pass from behind the B’s net slid into the open ice, and the Chelmsford high school alumnus stepped into a one-timer to give New York its only advantage on the night on an unassisted tally.

“That’s why they have us in the lineup; they need secondary scoring,” Aucoin said. “You can’t count on the top two lines to do it every night, and we have good chemistry going right now, so hopefully we continue to do that.”

The teams would go back-and-forth after that, with the Islanders bolstered by another local product, Rick DiPietro, who hails from Winthrop, Mass. Having not started a game since December 2, 2011, DiPietro returned in goal and looked stellar at times. With the game tied at two late in the second, DiPietro made three key saves in succession, stopping Nathan Horton, Dougie Hamilton, and Daniel Paille, to ensure the third stanza would start off tied.

“I felt good,” DiPietro said after the game. “It’s always exciting playing back here in Boston, and I always look forward to playing in this building. 

“I was excited. I think I hate losing more than I like winning. This is not the result I was looking for.”

For a goalie who had not seen the ice in 419 days, the Bruins did what they could to make life difficult for him, crowding the crease and throwing pucks at the net.

“This team does a good job of generating a lot of traffic in front of the net — a lot of screens and deflections,” DiPietro said. “[Shawn] Thornton’s a big body out there, a couple whacks at it and he finally put it in, but I thought we responded well.”

Playing the second game of a back-to-back, the Islanders began to unravel in the third.

“We didn’t turn the puck over, and the first 40 was really good,” Aucoin said. “The last 20 wasn’t great. We turned the puck over more than we did in the first two [periods], and they capitalized on it.

“When we don’t get pucks out at our blue line, it’s a good team over there, they’re going to capitalize, and that’s what they did tonight.”

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