By John Bishop, BostonBruins.comGame 5, Long Island:
The Boston Bruins growing pains continued Saturday night in Uniondale, Long Island, as the home standing New York Islanders, led by Jason Blake and his two goals, defeated the road weary B's, 4-1, at the Nassau Coliseum to end Boston's season opening five game road trip.
In a somewhat surprising pre-game development, it was announced that up-and-coming Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro, he of the record setting 15 year contract, was a scratch because of a groin issue.
So instead, the Bruins faced former University of Maine goalie Mike Dunham, hired very recently by another UMaine goalie turned NHLer, Garth Snow, who recently became the Islander's General Manager.
But Dunham did not play like a backup goalie on this night.
Boston had looked to rebound from their 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, and surely were fired up to start the game, but instead had to wait through the lengthy opening ceremonies commemorating the New York Islanders first home game of the 2006-07 season -- the fourth time the Bruins opened an opposition building this season.
And, as per usual for the Bruins in this young season, goaltending was the big story early as both Boston's Hannu Toivonen and New York's Dunham held the opposing shooters at bay.
Toivonen was tested frequently as the Bruins got their skating legs under them, while Dunham had to deal with several Boston power plays and many quality chances throughout.
Thanks to a fine play by Marc Savard
and Brad Stuart, however, Boston's Glen Murray opened the scoring and deposited a bullet into the corner of the Islanders net to put the Bruins up 1-0 going into the first intermission
But the Islanders took control of the momentum, and the game, during the second stanza as Mike Sillinger scored his first goal of the season when he took a pass from Miroslav Satan and Sean Hill, at 9:37 of the period, and put it behind the Bruins Toivonen.
Jason Blake tilted the score in favor of the Islanders for good at 13:52, as Hill and Alexei Zhitnik conspired to feed him the biscuit.
The action continued in furious fashion until the end of the period as Toivonen, the young Boston goalie, was tested time and again, while New York kept the Bruins on their side of the ice, keeping the puck from finding the veteran Dunham.
The third period was not a pleasant one for the Boston squad, as the Islanders hit their stride and put the hammer down.
New York's Blake scored his second of the game, and the season at :46 (from Yashin), putting the Bruins in a 3-1 hole. Then, only a few seconds later, Tom Poti scored (assisted by Blake and Satan), to make the final score 4-1.
"We…had chances we have to bury," said Bruins Head Coach Dave Lewis. "We don't capitalize on our opportunities. And as the game goes on you only get so many chances like that.
"The puck has to go in the net. When it's not in the net you see what happens…they get back into the game with one. They get another one, and then the wheels fall off."
"That's not the situation we want to go home with," said Toivonen. "We've got to work on the things we did wrong in these games…and get ready for the home opener on Thursday."
The Bruins return home October 19th to face the Calgary Flames in their first home contest of the season. The game will be covered by NESN and WBZ.