Boston Bruins coach Pat Burns was upset even though his goaltender played a brilliant game. New York Islanders coach Mike Milbury was upbeat even though his team remained winless with a 3-0 loss Monday.
"We were much better," Milbury said. "We clearly outplayed them for most of this game."
The difference was Bruins goalie Byron Dafoe, who made 28 saves, including three difficult ones in the last five minutes.
"Other individuals on this club are going to have to realize that we can't depend on him every night," Burns said. "We were outworked. There seems to be a lack of urgency in certain things we do."
The Bruins were good enough in a two-minute stretch of the first period to take advantage of Islanders' breakdowns and get goals from Dmitri Khristich at 14:00 and Steve Heinze at 15:18. P. J. Axelsson finished the scoring with 6:35 left in the game.
"The way the game is being played these days," Heinze said, "the lead is a big thing because everybody's so tough defensively so getting an early lead really helps."
| Boston's Dmitri Khristich (right) celebrates with teammates Sergei Samsonov (left) and Ray Bourque seconds after scoring the Bruins' first goal against the Islanders. (AP) |
"It's early yet," he said. "If we keep doing it, I'll probably commit suicide.
Dafoe, who had a career-high six shutouts last season, started the 1998-99 season with a strong game in Saturday night's 3-3 tie against the St. Louis Blues. On Monday, nothing got by him while three of Boston's 17 shots passed New York goalie Tommy Salo.
"I definitely had to work for it," Dafoe said. "Some shutouts I had last year I was just going through the motions."
With about five minutes left, he stopped Jason Dawe's point-blank shot from the slot with his left glove, then smothered Sergei Nemchinov's rebound attempt on which, Dafoe said, "I just threw my glove out. He had the whole net. If he goes upstairs, it's in."
With 2:20 remaining, he poked the puck away from Mike Watt on a breakaway.
"We had a pretty good game," New York's Mariusz Czerkawski said, "but we have to be hungry."
Dafoe, obtained from the Los Angeles Kings in August 1997, had an outstanding first season with the Bruins with a career-high 65 games and a career-low 2.24 goals against average.
Khristich, Boston's second-leading scorer last season, had missed Saturday's game with a sprained shoulder. On Monday, he gave the Bruins the lead when he slid a 5-foot wrist shot by Salo after taking a pass from behind the net from Jason Allison.
"I couldn't see the net," Khristich said, "but I had an idea where it was."
Heinze scored his second goal of the season 1:18 later on a rebound. Ted Donato, who missed Boston's first seven exhibition games during a contract holdout, tipped Grant Ledyard's shot. Salo stopped the deflection, but the puck went to Heinze, who was falling down as he put a 10-footer past the goalie from the left side of the net.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved