BOSTON – The Boston Bruins were showered with boos and then in what seemed like an instant, they mounted a frenzied comeback.
Blake Wheeler and Marc Savard scored in the shootout after the Bruins rallied for three goals in the final 8:01 of regulation to beat the New York Islanders 4-3 on Saturday night.
“We’re not satisfied with our game tonight,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “We’re happy with the win. A lot of it is about confidence. The confidence we gained from the third period will hopefully carry over to the next game.”
Jon Sim, Radek Martinek and John Tavares scored second-period goals for the Islanders, who were in position for the franchise’s first shutout in Boston.
Boston, playing its longest homestand to open a season, improved to 2-2-0.
The Islanders fell to 0-0-3. They lost their opener in a shootout and their second in overtime.
“Right now it seems like we’re finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win,” New York centre Josh Bailey said. “Something has to change here. You’ve got to give them credit. They came on strong. It’s a tough lesson to learn, but we have to move on.”
New York has lost its last seven games against the Bruins – all four last season and two the one prior – with its last victory coming Nov. 24, 2007.
After Savard beat Dwayne Roloson with a backhander under the crossbar to make it 2-1 in the shootout, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask made a left pad save on Kyle Okposo to end it.
Mark Savard, Byron Bitz and Matt Hunwick scored the late third-period goals to send it to overtime.
Both teams had good chances in overtime.
Savard scored Boston’s first goal with 8:01 to play.
Bitz then scored on backhander through a screen from the slot, making it 3-2 with 4:25 to play.
Hunwick completed the comeback with a wrister that sneaked through a crowd from the left point and behind Roloson with 2:34 to play.
“I shot it and it found its way to the net,” Hunwick said. “Maybe we didn’t play as complete a game as we wanted to, but I think the comeback is a testament to this team.”
Before the Bruins made their late charge, there was a smattering of boos from the near sellout crowd. Soon, though, the Bruins had many of the fans screaming wildly.
“The way we played in the third and the way the crowd was in it was unbelievable,” Rask said. “That’s what you want from your home crowd, but you have to earn it.”
New York had broke in front 1-0 on Sim’s power-play score 4:04 into the second when he collected the rebound of Okposo’s shot at the edge of the crease and lifted it over Rask’s right shoulder.
Martinek beat Rask over the left shoulder from the right circle, making it 2-0 at 12:43.
Tavares made it 3-0 just 3:05 later when he collected a loose puck at centre ice, skated down right wing on a 2-on-1 break and slipped a wrister inside the near post.
“If we look back at the start of the year and said to ourselves, ‘We could be 3-0 with a bounce here or there,’ we’d be happy with that, but it’s obviously hurts to not get the two points tonight,” Islanders coach Scott Gordon said.
Rask, making his first start of the season, made 35 saves.
The teams played a chippy first period, which may have been an indication of frustration they were both feeling from their sluggish season starts.
Boston killed a two-man power play advantage of 1:37 in the opening period, with Rask dropping to make a couple of nice pad saves on shots from close range. Okposo had a pair from just outside the crease.
NOTES: Boston D Dennis Wideman skated off the ice favouring his left shoulder and headed straight to the locker room after crashing into the boards late in the second period. He did not return in the third period. Julien called it “an upper body injury.”… Boston plays the final game of its homestand Monday against Colorado before going on a two-game road trip to Dallas and Phoenix. … The Islanders started 0-for-4 on the power play before Sim’s goal. … Rask blanked the Rangers on Jan. 31 in his only start last season. … New York hasn’t shutout the Bruins in the teams’ 68 meetings in Boston.