Bruins Hope to Repeat History, Begin Another Win Streak on Long Island

Bruins Hope to Repeat History, Begin Another Win Streak on Long Island The last time the Bruins visited Long Island, they began a season-high, seven-game win streak that included their first 6-0-0 road trip since 1972.

They'd like to start another such roll there on Friday when they open a four-game road trip against the Islanders after dropping their third straight with a 4-3 overtime loss against Buffalo on Thursday.

"Might as well start another one," defenseman Johnny Boychuk said. "Why not?"

That last game on Long Island was also the final game before the Bruins added Tomas Kaberle, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley to their lineup. Blake Wheeler actually opened the scoring with a goal 1:52 into the first in his final game as a Bruin, while Mark Stuart was a scratch the day before that pair was sent to Atlanta for Peverley.

That game against the Islanders also marked the start of the revival of Boston's top line. David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton combined for a pair of goals and five points in that 6-3 victory, and they haven't slowed down since.

Through Thursday's clash with the Sabres, that trio had 13-22-35 totals in the last 10 games, carrying a Bruins' offense that had scored just 28 total goals in that stretch, despite a 7-1-2 record.

Lucic's goal that night came on Boston's second power-play opportunity, as the Bruins finished the night 1-for-2 on the man advantage. Since that game, the Bruins have managed just one more power-play goal — on 24 chances. They are 0-for-19 in their last eight games.

Playing the Islanders should be a chance to get all aspects of the Bruins' game going again. Boston is 2-0-0 against New York this year with a 5-2 win at the Garden on Dec. 9 in addition to last month's 6-3 victory on Long Island.

The Islanders are well out of the playoff race after a horrid start to the season, but they've been one of the hottest teams in the league of late, so the Bruins can't take anything for granted. New York hasn't lost in regulation this month, going 3-0-2 in March.

Still, the Bruins are eager to get right back in action after Thursday's overtime loss.

"I think so. You don't want to dwell on it," forward Brad Marchand said. "You want to get right back at it as soon as possible and try to redeem yourself. We've had a few losses here in a row and we have to get back on the winning train. [Friday] is a great chance for us to do that. The Islanders are a tough team. We have to regroup and make sure we're ready for it."

Since a woeful 5-18-5 start, New York is a solid 21-14-5. There's young talent in the form of former No. 1 overall pick John Tavares (24-31-55 in 65 games), Matt Moulson (28-15-43 in 68 games) and surprising rookie Michael Grabner (27-14-41 in 64 games), while goalie Al Montoya has been a revelation.

Acquired from Phoenix for a sixth-round pack last month after Rick DiPietro suffered a broken orbital bone in an ill-advised fight with Pittsburgh's Brent Johnson, Montoya has gone 6-2-2 with a 2.02 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

The Islanders are also a tough team to play against. Even with tough guy Trevor Gillies suspended once again, they still have plenty of muscle in the lineup with Zenon Konopka (league-leading 239 penalty minutes, 21 fighting majors in 68 games), Matt Martin (108 PIMs, 10 fighting majors in 54 games) and recent call-up Michael Haley (59 PIMs, 3 fighting majors in 13 games). Konopka, who's 75 minutes ahead of second-place Steve Ott in the PIMs race, has dropped the gloves with Adam McQuaid in each of the first two meetings between the clubs this year.

The Bruins usually excel when things get physical. They're also a league-best 22-8-4 on the road. So while the Islanders aren't going to be a pushover, this matchup might be just what the Bruins need as they try to start another win streak when they open a four-game road trip on Friday.

"I hope so. We did a great job the last time we were in there to start off on the road," Marchand said, "and we've got to do it again, so hopefully we can start off on the right foot."

Yardbarker

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