The New York Islanders wrapped up their 2014 preseason Friday, falling 6-1 to the Boston Bruins at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.
scored a quick snapshot to the low blocker side, but he could not turn the game around for the Islanders, who finished the preseason with a 4-2-1 record.
“Some of the games were obviously better than others,” Islanders captain John Tavares said. “It’s disappointing that we hung our goalie out to dry tonight. [Tonight] was an opportunity to play hard and show a lot of things and we didn’t play well enough.”
Ryan Spooner led the Bruins offense, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Spooner opened the scoring 14:42 in the first period, snapping a shot past former-Bruin Chad Johnson. The Islanders threatened at times, including a two-on-one rush by Tavares and Okposo, but couldn’t generate the same high-quality chances as their Boston counterparts. Instead, Carl Soderberg put the Bruins ahead 2-0 three minutes later, banking a power-play goal off Matt Donovan’s skate and past Johnson.
Seth Griffith gave Boston a 3-0 lead 6:39 into the second period, but as the game wore on, nasty vibrations developed between the two clubs. Kevan Miller boarded Brock Nelson at the 11:48 mark, setting off a chain of events that included two fights in the third period.
The hit on Nelson galvanized the Islanders bench. Tavares, the usually reserved Islanders captain, immediately put Miller in a headlock before the Bruins defenseman was given a major penalty and a game misconduct.
“I thought Brock was hit in a pretty vulnerable position,” Tavares said. “I think we all stand up for our teammates, it’s not just me, it’s something I’ve tried to do in the past. The last two times, I’ve just been the guy who has been right there.”
Islanders’ fans held their breath as Nelson headed to the dressing room, but exhaled after he returned in the third period with five stitches.
“That shows a lot about his character and that he can play through injuries,” Sound Tigers Head Coach Brent Thompson, who was behind the bench Friday, said. “That’s a plus for us.”
Kael Mouillierat immediately took over Nelson’s spot on the top line and picked up an assist on Okposo’s power-play goal. Okposo scored 33 seconds into Miller’s major, but that’s as close as the Islanders would get, as Spooner scored his second of the game – a power-play goal – 4:32 into the third period.
“It seemed that we had a lot of the momentum, but once they made it 4-1 in the third, we just kind of sat back and didn’t play the game the way we needed to play,” Okposo said.
Daniel Paille scored the Bruins’ fifth goal 12:54 into the third period and Reilly Smith iced the game at 18:09. Johnson made 19 saves against his former team, while his counterpart, Malcolm Subban, made 32 saves.
The Islanders will narrow down their roster this weekend before finalizing the 23-man unit Tuesday. The Islanders kick off the regular season with a back-to-back, home-and-home set against the Carolina Hurricanes, beginning Friday Oct. 10 in Raleigh, NC.