John Tavares scored his 200th career NHL goal on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to get the Islanders to two points, as they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
David Pastrnak spoiled the milestone game for Tavares, scoring a pair of goals, including the eventual game-winner with 8.9 seconds to play in the second period. Pastrnak’s late-period marker was the consensus turning point, as it broke open a 1-1 tie.
“The goal at the end of the second period hurt us,” said Tavares. “It’s obviously frustrating. You’re tied, you feel pretty good about yourself, especially when we hadn’t played our best.”
The game nearly went the opposite direction, as Tavares had a chance to put the Islanders up 2-1 just 40 seconds earlier. Tuukka Rask kicked out a Josh Bailey rebound right to Tavares, but the captain couldn’t lift the puck over Rask’s pad from in tight.
“It just didn’t seem like things were coming easy today,” Tavares said. “When you’re playing catch up all night it can take a lot out of you.”
Boston had the better of the first period, outshooting the Islanders 14-5 in the opening frame. The Islanders kept the game scoreless until a late penalty paved the way for Loui Eriksson’s power-play goal with 1:34 to play. Eriksson curled off the goal line and around the crease, wrapping the puck past a sprawled out Thomas Greiss.
“We were a little sluggish in the first,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “I thought we rebounded well in the second and even in the third I don’t think we gave up that many scoring chances. They’re a good team. These games are going to be close.”
The Islanders came out with a purpose in the second period, immediately generating three quality chances. Bailey deflected a Kyle Okposo pass off the outside of the post, while Anders Lee put a backhander off the iron shortly after on a breakaway. Johnny Boychuk’s slap shot powered through Tuukka Rask, but Kevan Miller swept it out of the crease as it trickled towards the goal line.
The Islanders bevy of chances eventually yielded a goal, as Tavares backhanded his 26th of the season – and 200th of his career – past Rask at 10:48. Tavares was the beneficiary of some hard work by Okposo, as Okposo worked the puck out to the captain, who was waiting at the top of the crease.
"Hopefully I'll get another couple hundred," Tavares said of the milestone goal.
Thomas Greiss was solid again for the Islanders, turning aside 28-of-31 shots in the loss. Greiss’ night started early, as he robbed Matt Beleskey on a backdoor play in the opening minutes. He also robbed a Jimmy Hayes backhander in the second and kept the Islanders in the game while they found their legs.
“It’s always nice to get in the game quick and feel a couple of pucks,” Greiss said. “I felt pretty good until the third goal.”
Pastrnak’s second came with 2:34 to play in the third, a slap shot from the faceoff circle. Eriksson assisted on both of Pastrnak’s goals finishing the night with three points.
The Islanders retake the ice on Monday when they host the Florida Panthers at Barclays Center. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.