UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Through the first 15 games of this shortened NHL season, the Bruins have been able to win lots of different ways: Home, road, regulation, overtime, shootout, outshooting the opponent, being outshot, one-goal games, not-close games, leading after two periods, trailing after two.
After Tuesday night’s 4-1 victory over the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum, the Bruins’ record is spotless, though, in one key statistical category. When scoring the game’s first goal, they are a perfect 8-0.
It happened twice in Florida, when the Bruins produced a pair of first-period goals against the Lightning Thursday, then two more Sunday in the first period against the Panthers. They finished with four goals in both wins.
They got on the board first Tuesday night, as Adam McQuaid made it 1-0 at 6:43 of the first period.
“It’s always nice to get on a bit of a roll, seeing guys score on a more consistent basis,” Chris Kelly said. “I think we have a lot of guys that can score, the goals will happen.”
The opposition scored first in eight of the Bruins’ first 15 games, but Boston went 4-2-2 when initially trailing. Still, it’s not a habit they’d like to fall into, especially when the numbers speak to their position of strength when striking first.
“It’s a pretty impressive stat when you look around the league at teams that score first,” coach Claude Julien said. “We’ve been challenged a little bit in that area since the beginning of the year, and lately we’ve been better. Good starts are crucial in this league.’’
Less than a week ago, Julien cited board work as an area of concern, especially in the Bruins’ end. Two solid practices and two victories later, he was ready to render a verdict: improvement.
“Our board game had slipped. We addressed that, we were much better last game,” Julien said. “That’s what you’ve got to do in this shortened schedule: The minute that you see something slipping a little bit, address it right away.
“Maybe tomorrow it will be something else in practice, depending on what happens today. We might say maybe our back check or our back pressure wasn’t good, so we’ll address that.”
He’s been around
There have been highs (winning the Stanley Cup) and lows (limited to 43 games in that Cup-winning season because of an assortment of injuries) for Daniel Paille during his three-plus seasons with the Bruins. Tuesday marked a milestone of sorts, with Paille playing in his 200th game in the spoked-B sweater.
“That’s good to know. I didn’t realize it was 200,” said Paille, who has three goals and three assists this season. “To be here for as long as I have, for 200 games in this organization, I feel really fortunate and happy to be part of it. It flies by, though.”
A sunshine state
Julien couldn’t find a single thing wrong with his club’s five-day, two-victory swing through Florida. “Not really, because we had a lot of time off, we had great weather, and we got 4 points. All that put together makes for a pretty good trip,” Julien said. “I liked our focus, we were able to get I guess our last rest of this schedule, because starting tonight it’s every second night. So it was good that we had that opportunity.’’ , and it’s good that we won both games.’’ , so it’s a matter of finishing on the right note here.” Julien was not exaggerating. Starting with Thursday’s home game against the Senators, the Bruins will play 32 games in 58 days. Only once — when they have games scheduled on March 27 and March 30 — will they have two days between games, and on five occasions they will play on consecutive nights. The schedule is about to get busy . . . Count Julien among those caught off-guard by the Tuesday trade that sent former Bruin Michael Ryder from Dallas back to Montreal. “That was a bit of a surprise,” Julien said. “It will be interesting to see how that will develop, but it was a surprise to see him back there.” . . . Tyler Seguin’s assist on McQuaid’s first-period goal was his 100th career point.