BOSTON (AP) — Jake DeBrusk didn’t hesitate when asked what he missed most about sitting out 17 games with a broken leg: “Scoring goals.”
The Bruins forward didn’t waste any time after missing six weeks, scoring two minutes into the game on Saturday to propel NHL-leading Boston to a 6-2 victory over the tired New York Islanders.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for a while, and I just wanted to get a goal,” said DeBrusk, who scored twice, including the game-winner, in the Jan. 2 Winter Classic despite playing on a fractured fibula and hadn’t played since.
“I just wanted to get the first one,” he said Saturday. “It was great to get that.”
Trent Frederic had a pair of goals and Linus Ullmark stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who have won four of their last five games to amass 89 points and the NHL’s best record. Nick Foligno, Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Zacha also scored for Boston.
Kyle Palmieri and Matt Martin scored and Semyon Varlamov made 21 saves for the Islanders.
It was Bergeron’s 20th goal of the season — the 10th straight year, and 14th in his career, that he has reached the milestone.
“He’s the model of consistency in this league,” Foligno said. “He’s a guy that I’ve admired, a long time — and all of us do. He plays the game the right way. I think that’s one of the best compliments you can get as a player. And and he does that.”
Bergeron scored when DeBrusk’s shot hit high off the glass behind the net and bounced back over the net and into the crease. The Bruins captain tipped it out of the air, about one foot from the goal line.
“He has a nose for understanding the scoring areas and the places to be. There’s a reason why that guy doesn’t go through too many slumps in his career,” Foligno said. “We’re lucky to have him. He’s the gold standard.”
New York was playing on back-to-back nights after beating Pittsburgh on Friday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
“There’s a lot of times in the season where you have the advantage, and sometimes you have the disadvantage,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “That first period, that’s the way you want to play when you have a team on back-to-backs.”
HOW THEY SCORED
DeBrusk scored a power-play goal on his second shift back, taking a pass from Brad Marchand and flipping it through Varlamov’s legs. The Bruins, who won 5-0 in Nashville on Thursday night, made it 3-0 before Palmieri got the Islanders on the board early in the second.
But Boston made it 4-1 on Bergeron’s goal. Frederic scored three minutes later, and Zacha added on late in the period.
The Bruins have only lost twice at home in regulation, including a 2-1 defeat by the Washington Capitals on Feb. 11, their only other game in Boston since the All-Star break.
“We just talked about getting the home win. The other night we didn’t get one here, coming back off the break and it ticked us off,” Foligno said. “Something we talked about at the start of the year was being a real hard team at home, being a hard place to play. We wanted to get back to that.”
The Bruins are 23-2-3 at home this season.
Islanders: Visit Pittsburgh on Monday night.
Bruins: Host Ottawa on Monday.
AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports