BOSTON (AP) — Taylor Hall scored his first goal for Boston and Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots to earn his first victory since February on Thursday night, when the Bruins dominated the New York Islanders and won 4-1.
Rask had played just once since March 7 because of a back injury. His teammates gave him an easy one, outshooting the Islanders 45-23 — including a 23-7 first period — and getting two goals from Brad Marchand and one from Craig Smith to win their second straight game.
Travis Zajac scored his first goal for New York, and Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves. The Islanders had won five of their previous six games, and trail the first-place Washington Capitals by two points in the East Division.
Boston, which won the 2020 Presidents Trophy after the pandemic-shortened season, solidified its hold on the fourth and final playoff berth in the East, remaining four points ahead of the fifth-place Rangers.
The teams meet again in Boston on Friday night.
Hall was acquired from the Sabres at the trade deadline early Monday morning, drove to Boston that day and made his Bruins debut on Tuesday night in a 3-2, shootout win over his former team. The 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick scored on a third-period breakaway, sprung by David Pastrnak, to make it 3-1.
Marchand added an empty netter in the final two minutes.
Boston took a 1-0 lead when Mike Reilly, who was also acquired at the trade deadline, flipped the puck in from the blue line. Patrice Bergeron chopped at it and the bouncing puck deflected off Marchand’s back and into the netting before coming right back out.
Play continued for 10 seconds before a whistle that allowed replay to award the Bruins the goal.
Boston made it 2-0 when Smith scored during a dominant power play while Brock Nelson was off for a high sticking double-minor.
The Islanders made it a one-goal game when Mathew Barzal won a battle for the puck behind the net and spun it around to Zajac, acquired from New Jersey along with Kyle Palmieri at the deadline, in the slot. It was just New York’s ninth shot of the game to 24 for the Bruins.
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