Marty Turco spent all season waiting for an NHL team to give him a chance to make a comeback.
An injury to Tuukka Rask paved the way for the veteran goalie to not only return, but join the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Turco made 19 saves and earned his second win since hooking up with Boston this month, and the Bruins eliminated the New York Islanders from playoff contention with a 6-3 victory on Saturday.
The 36-year-old Turco knows he is on borrowed time, because his late arrival precludes him from playing in the postseason. For now he is trying to do his best to help the Bruins down the stretch and give No. 1 goalie Tim Thomas some rest.
He might be a bit rusty after spending this season playing in Austria, but claims to be in good condition – even though he said so with a laugh.
”I’m in great shape, come on,” Turco said. ”I have been in good shape all year, it’s just that no one called.
”I actually felt pretty good. I saw the puck real well.”
Brad Marchand snapped a third-period tie with his team-leading 27th goal, and the Bruins dispatched the Islanders with their sixth win in eight games (6-1-1).
”It’s about picking up your game at the right time,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ”We hope to peak when the playoffs are around. We’re trying to play our best hockey heading into the playoffs.”
The Bruins, who lead the Northeast Division, had plenty of support as a large throng of fans cheering ”Let’s Go Bruins” throughout while decked out in black and gold jerseys filled the Nassau Coliseum and made up about half of the sellout crowd.
”Usually we have pretty good crowds on the road,” said captain Zdeno Chara, a former Islanders defenseman. ”Fans can jump on a train or a short flight and probably get a better price on tickets that we get at home. It’s a nice way to spend a weekend.”
The Bruins will be sticking around New York, and will face the East-leading Rangers on Sunday night in what could be a preview of the conference finals.
Tyler Seguin, who made the pass to set up Marchand’s goal 3:13 into the third, pushed Boston’s lead to 4-2 with 9:23 remaining and matched Marchand with his 27th. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci scored seconds apart later in the third to turn it into a rout.
Krejci had two goals, Chris Kelly also scored for Boston, and Turco won for the second time in four outings. Turco was last in the NHL last March with Chicago.
”You’re just elated to be back in the NHL, period,” Turco said. ”The more time you spend apart from it, you realize how special and privileged you are to be in this league.
”Good things happen for reasons. Then you come here and you don’t just say, `Hey, I’m back boys. Let’s have a party.’ I’ve come here to work and do what I can to help this team.”
Boston (46-28-4) clinched a playoff spot Friday night when Buffalo lost.
Kyle Okposo scored for the fifth straight game, and PA Parenteau had two goals for the Islanders (33-34-11), who had won five of six – including victories in their two previous games against Pittsburgh. New York will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
”We knew what we wanted to accomplish,” forward John Tavares said. ”Other than the third period, we’ve played some pretty good hockey.”
Al Montoya made 21 saves.
The Bruins failed to hold a pair of one-goal leads – one in each of the first two periods, and the teams were tied 2-2 heading into the third.
Krejci got it started late in the sluggish first period that didn’t produce much of anything until the final two minutes. Milan Lucic, who was serenaded by the Bruins faithful with loud chants of ”Loooch!” every time he touched the puck, sent a backhanded pass from behind the Islanders net into the lower portion of the right circle. Krejci one-timed a shot while going down to a knee that beat Montoya with 1:49 left in the period for his 22nd goal.
Okposo answered it just 29 seconds later with his career-best 21st goal, and sixth in five games.
There were no penalties called in the first period, and the Islanders had the only two power plays in the second.
The Islanders failed to take advantage of either power play, but managed to get even again with 5:34 left in the second on Parenteau’s first of the game.
Boston regained the lead 4:56 into the second off an Islanders giveaway. Montoya kicked out a long rebound of Brian Rolston’s shot to Andrew MacDonald, but the defenseman’s clearing attempt was intercepted by Kelly near the right point. Kelly skated to the center and scored his career-best 20th goal.
Parenteau got the Islanders within 4-3, scoring his 18th of the season with 5:07 to go, but Bergeron restored Boston’s two-goal lead 1:26 later, and Krejci made it 6-3 just 24 seconds after that.
Notes: Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg made the trip to New York but sat out because of an infection in a cut above his left knee. Fellow defenseman Adam McQuaid (injured eye) didn’t travel with the team after being sent face first into the boards on Thursday by Washington’s Jason Chimera. He had a cut and swelling around his eye, but the Bruins said he didn’t sustain a concussion. Mike Mottau was in the lineup for the first time in 11 games since March 10. … The Islanders recalled Micheal Haley from Bridgeport of the AHL to fill in for Casey Cizikas, who was sidelined by an undisclosed upper body injury. … Boston had its only power play in the third on a penalty for delay of game.