Bruins can't get past the Isles
By DAN HICKLING, Special to the Journal
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Much of the futility that has beset the Boston
Bruins this season has been of their own doing. Last night, however,
was an exception.
The Bruins unloaded 34 shots on New York Islander goaltender John
Vanbiesbrouck while holding the Isles to just 13. Still, they came
away on the losing end for the third game in a row, dropping 4-2
decision to the Isles in front of a miniscule Nassau Coliseum crowd
The Bruins are 1-7-0-1 in their last eight games and 1-3-0-1 since
coach Mike Keenan replaced Pat Burn as head coach.
Boston's problem last night was not a lack of work ethic. Instead the
Bruins were were mastered by a wily goalie, who was given a 3-goal
lead to work with in the second period.
"We can't criticize anyone about the effort," said Keenan, "or the
way we played with passion and committment. We made a couple of
mistakes which resulted in goals for them. But any time you keep a
team under 13 shots for a game, you probably deserve better results."
The Bruins outshot New York 16-4 in the first period but had nothing
to show for it. Joe Thornton had four of those shots, including the
most dangerous one, which came at the 1:30 mark. Thornton was led
nicely by Andrei Kovalenko and unloaded a 15-footer which
Vanbiesbrouck was able to kick out.
Bruins rookie goalie Andrew Raycroft, who lasted barely 10 minutes in
Sunday's fiasco at Madison Square Garden before he was yanked by
Keenan, was scarcely tested last night. His only real challenge came
on Brad Isbister's sharp wrister during the period's only power play,
which he snatched before it caught the top right corner. But given
what awaited him in the second period, when the Isles connected on 3
of 7 shots to take a 3-0 lead, the young goalie might have wished for
a quick hook.
Raycroft was unfortunate on the first two Islander goals, scored by
Capt. Kenny Jonsson and Oleg Kvasha. Both scores were the result of
some fortuitous bounces.
Jonsson's goal came at 3:31 on a blast from the right point. He got
control of the puck after teammate Mats Lindgren had fanned on a
setup from Claude Lapointe. Just 1:08 later, Kvasha was handed a
golden opportunity in front after linemate Mark Parrish was tied up
by Boston defenseman Jarno Kultanen.
The puck slid free to Kvasha, who swept it in from 10 feet out.
For Raycroft, it's all part of the learning curve.
"Every day is a learning day," he said. "I'll take this, put it under
my hat, and try to draw from it next time."
Boston tried to rebound but couldn't get anything past Vanbiesbrouck.
"We had a good effort," said Boston defenseman Hal Gill. "The bounces
didn't go our way, and when they did go our way, (Vanbiesbrouck) made
the save. He was the big reason they won that game."
Vanbiesbrouck came up huge against Boston's Shawn Bates, who swiped
the puck in the Islander zone and had a clear shot that Vanbiesbrouck
kicked out. On the counterattack, Dave Scatchard put a shot through
Raycroft's pads to make it 3-0.
Sergei Samsonov finally got the Bruins on the scoreboard 25 seconds
into the third period when he weaved through the New York defense and
deposited a backhander. Peter Popovic and Paul Coffey drew the
assists. For Coffey, it was his first point as a Bruin, and the
1,528th of his stellar career, putting him one point behind Raymond
Bourque for scoring by a defenseman.
Thornton scored with 1:07 left after Raycroft was pulled for an extra
attacker. But Isbister sealed the deal with an empty-netter with 32.3
"We have to take the positives from this game," Keenan said. "The
application to team play is what we'll continue to build on."
NOTEBOOK : The Bruins' search for goaltending help has yielded
nothing as of yet. Assistant general manager Mike O'Connell took in
Monday night's Panthers/Devils tilt at the Meadowlands, presumably to
look at New Jersey backup Chris Terreri. However, the former PC star
was limited to pregame warmups as Martin Brodeur got the starting nod.