Cal Clutterbuck scored the game-winning goal with 3:09 remaining to cap off a back-and-forth 5-3 Islanders win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at TD Garden.
Clutterbuck hopped off the bench and collected a lose puck in neutral ice, speeding down the left side. The winger rifled the puck from the top of the left circle back to the far side, beating Jeremy Smith’s glove to give the Islanders a 4-3 advantage late in the game.
“I saw their d-man try to make a long pass, had some speed going and just tried to get the puck on net,” Clutterbuck said following the win.
Goaltender Kevin Poulin made 26 saves on 29 shots to pick up the victory in his first full-preseason game this September.
The Bruins took an early lead when Patrice Bergeron opened the scoring 6:45 into the first period on a rebound off his own wrapround attempt. Poulin kicked out the initial shot with his right pad, but Bergeron followed-up his initial effort for the 1-0 Bruins lead.
The Bruins nearly took a 2-0 lead, but Poulin made the save of the game with 3:40 remaining in the opening period on Craig Cunningham’s attempt during a two-on-one rush. The feed came across from Brad Marchand to Cunningham on the right side. Cunningham fired it high, glove side, but Poulin’s mitt was up on time.
After being heavily outshot in the first half of the game, Head Coach Jack Capuano adjusted his lines midway through the second period and his squad responded.
The ice tilted and I felt we had to change the lines there a little bit and we did. We got the momentum back. - Head Coach Jack Capuano
The Islanders evened the game on the power play 8:20 into the second period when TJ Brennan tallied his first with the Islanders. Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo picked up the assists on Brennan’s goal.
Okposo then gave the Islanders their first lead of the night late in the second off an individual effort of strength and power. Okposo took control off the puck in the left corner and worked off two defensemen to give himself space in the slot before firing it home.
Less than a minute later, one of the newly formed trios added to the Isles’ lead. Cal Clutterbuck rushed the puck into the offensive zone before feeding John Tavares on the left half-board. Tavares wasted no time and found an open Cory Conacher in the high slot who one-timed it past Smith.
“The ice tilted and I felt we had to change the lines there a little bit and we did,” said. “We got the momentum back and after that I put the lines back together so we could continue to evaluate.”
Conacher’s was his first as a member of the Islanders.
“To me it was a really good game for Cory tonight,” Capuano said. “Hopefully he can build off that with the two following games we've got left.”
After practicing with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo yesterday, Conacher began the game playing on the left with those two. Clutterbuck then filled in temporarily for Okposo during the line adjustments.
The start of the third period belonged to the Bruins when they struck early in the frame to even up the game. Matt Bartkowski got one back shorthanded for Boston early in the third by beating Poulin stick-side. Then after Brad Marchand’s penalty expired, he exited the box and took Loui Eriksson’s feed for a breakaway before depositing the puck.
The Islanders finished with a 16-6 shot advantage in the third period.
Scott Mayfield’s empty-net goal from 185-feet away with 1:11 remaining sealed the Islanders’ victory, their fourth in five preseason games.
The Islanders continue the preseason Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The Islanders then wrap things up against the Bruins Friday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT.