BOSTON -- The Bruins could have clinched a playoff spot with a point Thursday, but it was the Islanders who looked more like a playoff team, grinding out a 2-1 win at TD Garden behind two goals from Josh Bailey and 30 saves from Evgeni Nabokov. Tyler Seguin scored and Tuukka Rask made 34 saves for the Bruins, who lost against the team that as of Thursday would be Boston's opponent in the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Good start but same old story for Bruins: The Bruins came out of the gate strong and seemed to have plenty of urgency in the first period, yet they found themselves trailing 1-0. That one goal, of course, came on a Bruins turnover, and while Seguin, Gregory Campbell and Jaromir Jagr put on a clinic on the power play and clicked for the tying goal 3:41 into the middle frame, the turnovers increased after that and led to the game winner. The Bruins were forced into scramble mode, veering further away from their game plan and system.
Rask does his job but still needs more help: It can't be fun to be a Bruins goalie right now. Both Rask and Anton Khudobin have made the saves they should make and also some they'd be excused for not making. Many nights they give the team a chance to win, but lately the Bruins aren't doing their job in front of them. Rask had plenty of great stops that kept the Bruins in the game, including a beauty on Matt Moulson halfway through the second period following a Zdeno Chara turnover. Granted, Rask could've made the save on Bailey's second goal, but the Bruins are lucky to have Rask and Khudobin, who as of late have been under siege.
Seguin hustling more to utilize his skill: While Seguin scored a goal in the 5-4 win on Wednesday, he did not have a good game at all and as of late has lacked the necessary hustle and grit to be playing more minutes both 5-on-5 and also on the power play. People can criticize Julien all they want for not utilizing Seguin properly, but if Seguin hustles and works hard, Julien will reward him just as he rewards others. For the majority of this game Seguin was working hard, and it paid off with his second-period power play goal, his 14th of the season. Seguin's game dipped a bit as the rest of his team's did in the second period, but overall this was one of his better games.
Power play connects: The Bruins scored on their first power play Thursday. Just as impressive was the way they moved the puck around, created chances and then executed. The Bruins still have a long way to go on the power play, but if they can use more puck management and execution, they will have more success.
McQuaid returns; Daugavins in for Marchand: Defenseman Adam McQuaid returned to the lineup Thursday, playing for the first time since March 19 when he suffered a shoulder strain. With McQuaid returning, rookie Dougie Hamilton was the odd man out as the healthy scratch. McQuaid was paired with Andrew Ference and finished with no points and was minus-2 in 15:52 on ice. Up front, Brad Marchand missed his first game of the season with a mild concussion suffered in the 5-4 win over the Devils on Wednesday. Back in the lineup was Kaspars Daugavins, who was on a line with Rich Peverley and Shawn Thornton. Daugavins had no points in 8:16 of ice time. Here's what the lineup looked like to start the game:
Milan Lucic-Gregory Campbell-Jaromir Jagr
Kaspars Daugavins-Rich Peverley-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid