BRUINS 4, ISLANDERS 2
Fear not, Bruins prevail
Allison's trick gives antsy fans a treat
By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Globe Staff, 4/1/2001
Fear not, Bruins prevail
Be honest. This game scared you to death. This game against the
lowly New York Islanders was as terrifying as the final scene
of ''The Blair Witch Project.''
A last-place team with nothing to lose against a desperate club that
was dead on its feet. A contest against a team the Bruins hadn't
beaten on home ice since Oct. 12, 1998.
But with 1:19 remaining in regulation, the Bruins ensured a happy
ending when Jason Allison scored the second of his three goals to
send Boston on its way to a 4-2 win at the FleetCenter. It lifted the
Bruins 1 point ahead of the idle Hurricanes for the eighth and final
Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Coach Mike Keenan said he was proud of his team for rallying after a
deflating overtime loss to the Senators in Ottawa Friday night.
''It was just a tough, tough night to begin with,'' said Keenan. ''We
played a tough competitor, they're playing loose. They were waiting
here for us, they were rested. We had to go to the well tonight to
get the energy level we needed to win because we left a lot of it in
Ottawa. We played, and to come away without a victory, that was a
tough night for us. We probably should've won that game [Friday] and
deserved to win with the effort we put in, but we couldn't get it
done. It took a lot of energy to be able to respond in the third
period and come back.''
The deciding goal came during an oddman rush that was handled
perfectly by dependable P.J. Axelsson. The left wing, with defenseman
Eric Cairns diving to block the pass across the slot to Bill Guerin
(and with goalie Chris Terreri way out of the cage), waited out
Cairns and then fed the puck to the trailing Allison in the slot.
Allison found himself with an open net and he buried his shot. He
added a true empty-netter with 20.7 seconds left. It was Allison's
fourth career hat trick and gave him 35 goals for the season, a
Allison said he didn't think Terreri saw him, which the netminder
admitted he didn't. Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe had a pretty good view
of it from the other end.
''I was surprised that Terreri went out like that,'' said
Dafoe. ''Basically what it is, is he overcommitted to the play. It's
fortunate for us, we'll take it. Axey is his first and foremost
[concern]. But he's also got to be at the top of his crease and not
give him any net. Then, if [Axelsson] does make that pass, you're
still in position to at least [have a chance at stopping Allison].
But he's an aggressive goaltender and he likes to commit like that,
and a lot of times it works. Fortunately for us, it didn't work that
At 7:46 of the first period, Boston took a 1-0 lead on Allison's
first of the night. Guerin set up the goal when he relayed a pass
from the left circle to Eric Weinrich, who was in the top of the
right one. Weinrich wristed a shot at the net and Allison was there
to tip it past Terreri.
The early part of the second period was all Islanders as the visitors
led, 10-1, in shots at one point. They generated flurry after flurry
in the Boston zone but Dafoe held them at bay. At least, that is,
until Cairns potted his second goal of the season at 8:37.
Sergei Samsonov gave the lead back to the Bruins at 15:23, potting
his 28th. Only moments after defenseman Branislav Mezei spilled
Samsonov into the corner, Kyle McLaren flipped the puck at the net
and it deflected over to Samsonov at the left side of the cage. He
beat Terreri with a forehander.
But the Islanders pulled even again at 11:38 of the third on Mezei's
first goal of the year. He wristed the puck from high in the left
circle and it beat Dafoe, who was screened by Weinrich, to the glove
That set the stage for the heroics of Axelsson and Allison, and
showed an ability to bounce back that the Bruins haven't always
had. ''They're not fragile, they're holding up pretty well,'' said
Keenan. ''I think the mental toughness we developed during the season
is paying off. We've had a lot of difficult times to work through and
you build resilience and you build mental toughness, and we're
extracting it now in the most critical time of the season for us.''