BOSTON – Matt Moulson was perfectly happy to have his first career two-goal game. He didn’t need a hat trick – especially one he didn’t deserve.
Moulson scored twice – and was temporarily credited with a third – on Monday night to lead the New York Islanders to a 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins. He was given New York’s third goal for doing nothing more than raising his arms in celebration after John Tavares scored, but the right player was credited on review.
“I’m not going to take that one,” said Moulson, who has 10 goals this season – more than he had his entire career while bouncing back and forth to the minors in the previous two years. “He got a good bounce there. I was trying for it but I just couldn’t reach it.”
Dwayne Roloson stopped 28 shots, and Tavares scored to make it 3-1 before Trent Hunter added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left. But Moulson’s goals were all the Islanders needed to avoided a repeat of their last visit to Boston, when they held a 3-0 lead with just over 8 minutes left in regulation before losing in a shootout 4-3.
“As a team you can’t look in the past,” Roloson said. “You just have to keep looking in the future and keep working.”
Tuukka Rask made 17 saves and Daniel Paille scored for Boston, which killed off all five penalties and has not allowed a goal in 22 consecutive power plays. But the Bruins, who have allowed 10 goals in the last two games, lost their third straight.
“Those little details that meant so much to us being successful aren’t consistent right now,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “There’s not that confidence or determination we need to be successful. Right now we have to have our best players playing their best if we’re going to turn it around.”
The Islanders, who blew a three-goal lead in Boston on Oct. 10, took a two-goal lead on Tavares’ goal with 18:10 left in the game and finished this one off in regulation – a rarity for these teams of late. The Bruins had played two straight overtime games and the Islanders needed OT in their previous three.
“We could say, ‘We played well but we’re not scoring goals.’ We could hide behind that,” forward Blake Wheeler said. “But when you give up 10 goals in your last two games, it’s not good enough.”
New York took the lead six minutes into the game when Jack Hillen brought it around the boards to the back of the net and backhanded it into the slot for Moulson.
Boston had a 5-on-3 advantage late in the first, but Dennis Wideman hit the post on Roloson’s glove side on Boston’s best chance. The Bruins finally tied it with 5:04 left in the second period when David Krejci brought the puck into the zone and swept it across the crease to Paille, who shot once off Roloson’s pad and a second time between the goalie’s skate and the post.
The net, which had been knocked off the moorings by an Islanders skater, went into the air and the puck slid in and came to rest under the bottom of the goal when it came back to the ice.
Moulson made it 2-1 after Rask played the puck behind the net and sent it along the right boards. It was picked off by Richard Park near the circle and quickly centred to Moulson, who redirected it past Rask as he tried to get back in position.
NOTES: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz participated in a ceremonial first puck drop. … The Bruins announced that there will be an old-timers game the day after the Jan. 1 Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Cam Neely, Pat LaFontaine and Brian Leetch will play alongside celebrities like actors Denis Leary and Tim Robbins. … Islanders D Mark Streit played his 300th game. … Bruins F Marco Sturm’s next game will be his 800th.