Recap: Islanders 7, Bruins 1Mar 2, 2023
Four different skaters recorded a multi-point performance as the Bridgeport Islanders (24-21-7-1), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, scored a season-high seven goals in a convincing 7-1 win over the Providence Bruins (31-12-8-2) at Total Mortgage Arena on Thursday.
Ruslan Iskhakov led the way with one goal and two assists, while Andy Andreoff (two goals), Samuel Bolduc (one goal, one assist) and Paul Thompson (one goal, one assist) also had big nights. Blade Jenkins and Jeff Kubiak added goals, and Jakub Skarek (9-12-3) made 25 saves.
The Islanders recorded a season-best five goals in the third period alone, chasing Bruins starter Brandon Bussi (16-3-4) from the crease. Bussi led the AHL with a .930 save percentage entering the night.
The victory moved the Islanders back into a playoff spot, one point ahead of Saturday’s opponent, the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The Islanders were just 17 seconds into killing an early Seth Helgeson slashing penalty when Providence got the game’s first goal 1:08 into the game. Georgii Merkulov let go of a one-time slap shot from the right circle that beat a sliding Skarek for the power-play tally. Skarek was perfect after that.
Bridgeport entered the first intermission down 1-0, but bounced back with seven unanswered goals to win the game and improve to 5-5-0-0 in 10 meetings against the Bruins. Thompson evened the score with a power-play goal of his own at 14:26 of the second, screening Bussi near the top of the crease and cleaning up Robin Salo’s initial shot. Bolduc had the secondary assist.
The Islanders took the lead with Kubiak’s eighth goal of the season just 21 seconds later when Reece Newkirk stole the puck behind the goal line and curled a backhand centering pass to the doorstep for Kubiak’s successful wrist shot.
Bridgeport embraced a physical response from the Bruins and carried its momentum into the third period. There were 58 combined penalty minutes in the contest, 19 against Seth Helgeson alone. He and Dan Renouf dropped the gloves at 11:38 of the third.
The Islanders scored five goals on 10 shots in the first 7:32 of the third to put the game out of reach. Andreoff had two of the tallies, including a goal just 19 seconds into the frame that made it 3-1. He redirected home Ruslan Iskhakov’s spinning pass for his 22nd goal of the season, which also extended his current scoring streak to four games (three goals, three assists).
Jenkins’ first AHL goal of the season made it 4-1 at the 2:42 mark when he whipped a shot into an open net after Bussi came out of his crease to play the puck. It was an unassisted goal from the left-wing wall.
Andreoff struck again at the 5:39 mark on a booming one-time shot that was fed to him by Iskhakov for his team-leading 23rd goal of the season. Grant Hutton was credited with the secondary assist.
Bolduc got in on the scoring with some puck luck after blasting a slap shot from the left point that redirected off the stick of a Bruins’ defender and into the net. Jimmy Lambert and Thompson had the assists on the 6-1 score that signaled the end for Bussi. His night finished with 20 saves on 26 shots in 46:34.
The Islanders capped the 7-1 final with an Iskhakov goal at 7:32. The rookie whistled a heavy wrist shot past backup netminder Kyle Keyser (no decision) during a 2-on-1 rush, in which he had Andreoff but didn’t use him. Chris Terry had the only assist.
The Islanders completed the night 1-for-2 on the power play and 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. Bridgeport has scored a power-play goal in four straight games.
Next Time Out: The Islanders host the Hartford Wolf Pack at 7 p.m. on Saturday for “Star Wars Night”. The first 2,000 fans in attendance will take home a free Bridgeport Islanders lightsaber and Star Wars characters will be available for pictures and autographs beginning at 6 p.m. The game can be seen live via AHLTV.com or heard on the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network.