Bruins Face Islanders in First Stop of Seven-Game Road Trip

Bruins Face Islanders in First Stop of Seven-Game Road TripAfter falling flat in the third period of Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to Montreal, the Bruins bounced back to beat the Maple Leafs 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night, snapping a 10-game home winless streak. Now, the B’s try to break another winless streak and earn their first win of the season against the Islanders on Long Island in the final meeting of 2009-10 between the two.

The Islanders are coming off a 6-3 loss to Atlanta, and just like the Bruins, they are 1-1-0 since returning from the Olympic break. They beat Chicago 5-3 on Tuesday.


This is the first stop of a seven-game road trip that won’t see the Bruins return to the TD Garden until March 18, when they host the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins. For now, the Bruins are focused on what’s right in front of them — a date with Calder Trophy candidate John Tavares and the Islanders.



WHEN AND WHERE

Saturday, March 6, 2 p.m. (NESN)
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coilseum, Uniondale, N.Y.


RECORDS

Bruins (28-23-11, 67 points, third place in Northeast Division, seventh place in Eastern Conference)
Islanders (26-30-8, 60 points, last in Atlantic Division, 13th in Eastern Conference)


HEAD TO HEAD

This is the final game of the season between the Islanders and Bruins, and the Bruins have yet to beat New York, going 0-1-2. The Islanders won the last meeting 3-2 in overtime on Dec. 12 at Nassau Coliseum.

The Bruins lead the lifetime series 37-17-11-2.


SKINNY

When it was first reported first by NESN.com on Thursday that Tuukka Rask was injured and Tim Thomas would start against Toronto, the airwaves and internet were a blaze with panic. But Thomas silenced his critics and doubters with a brilliant 24-save performance in a 3-2 shootout win. As head coach Claude Julien pointed out, Thomas’ teammates never doubted him.

“I told him, ‘You’re a Vezina Trophy winner. You don’t go from being a great goaltender to a bad goaltender,'” Julien said. “We told him the whole organization is behind him, and it was nice to see him respond.”


Now they are behind him even more, and with Rask still out with a knee injury, the Bruins will depend on Thomas to carry the load again until the Finnish rookie is healthy.



PROJECTED LINEUPS

Bruins
Forwards
Daniel Paille–Marc Savard–Michael Ryder
Marco Sturm–David Krejci–Mark Recchi
Blake Wheeler–Vladimir Sobotka–Miroslav Satan
Milan Lucuc–Steve Begin–Shawn Thornton

Defensemen
Zdeno Chara–Dennis Seidenberg
Dennis Wideman–Matt Hunwick
Mark Stuart–Johnny Boychuk

Goaltenders
Tim Thomas
Dany Sabourin

Islanders
Forwards
Josh Bailey–John Tavares–Kyle Okposo
Matt Moulson–Frans Nielsen–Blake Comeau
Jeff Tambellini–Rob Schremp–Tim Jackman
Jon Sim–Doug Weight–Richard Park

Defensemen
Mark Streit–Bruno Gervais
Jack Hillen–Freddy Meyer
Dustin Kohn–Dylan Reese


Goaltenders
Dwayne Roloson
Martin Biron


GOALTENDER MATCHUP

Bruins
Tim Thomas is 14-15-7 with a 2.50 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Thomas has four shutouts and earned his first win since Jan. 14 with a 24-save performance against Toronto on Thursday.

Tuukka Rask is 14-8-4 with a 2.15 GAA and a .926 save percentage. Rask started eight straight games for the Bruins before hurting his knee in a 4-1 loss to Montreal on Tuesday. He was 4-2-2 during that stretch. Heading into NHL action on Friday, Rask was first in the NHL in GAA and fourth in save percentage.


Islanders
Dwayne Roloson was rumored to be on the trading block but wasn’t dealt before Wednesday’s trade deadline. Roloson gave up three goals on seven shots before being pulled in a 6-3 loss to Atlanta on Thursday. He is 20-13-6 with a 2.93 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He has one shutout.

Martin Biron was also rumored to be available, but he too remained an Islander. Biron is 4-12-2 with a 3.26 GAA and a .897 save percentage.



STAT SHEET

Bruins
Patrice Bergeron
leads the team with 37 points.

Zdeno Chara is second on the team in points with 34 and leads the team with 29 assists. Chara has a goal and five assists in his last seven games.


Miroslav Satan won Thursday’s game with a shootout goal and also scored in regulation. Satan has three points (two goals, one assist) in his last four games and has seven points in 20 games since signing with the Bruins on Jan. 2.


Marco Sturm had an assist on Thursday and now has 11 helpers to go with a team-leading 19 goals.


Mark Recchi had an assist on Thursday and now has a goal and an assist in his last three games. Recchi has 31 points this season.

The Bruins went 0-for-3 on the power play on Thursday and are now 37-for-206 with an 18 percent success rate.

The Bruins killed off all four Toronto power plays on Thursday. They have only allowed 30 goals on 221 power plays and as of Friday, they were ranked first in the NHL with an 86.4 percent success rate.


The Bruins are still the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, averaging 2.32 goals per game.


Islanders
Kyle Okposo
leads the team in points with 40 and assists with 27.

Matt Moulson is riding a four-game point streak, with one goal and three assists during that stretch. He leads the team with 22 goals and is second on the team with 38 points.


Calder Trophy candidate John Taveres is third on the team with 35 points. He has 17 goals and 18 assists.


Rob Schremp had a goal and an assist on Thursday and has five points in his last four games. He has 25 points this season.


Mark Streit leads the blue line with 32 points. Streit has a goal and two assists in his last two games.


The Islanders were 2-for-5 on the power play on Thursday and are 37-for-242 this season with a 15.3 percent success rate. They’re ranked 29th in the NHL.


The Islanders allowed one power-play goal on three Atlanta power plays on Thursday. They have now allowed 56 power-play goals on 227 power plays faced with a 75.3 percent success rate. They are ranked 29th in the NHL.



BLACK AND BLUE

Bruins
Patrice Bergeron missed his second straight game on Thursday and is day-to-day with a groin injury suffered during the Olympics.

Andrew Ference will be out five to seven days with a groin injury.


Tuukka Rask is day-to-day with a knee injury.

Islanders

Rick DiPietro was placed on the injured reserve list and is out indefinitely after experiencing swelling in his surgically-repaired left knee.


Trent Hunter will miss one to two weeks with an upper-body injury suffered March 2.

Andrew MacDonald
suffered a broken foot blocking a shot on March 2 and is expected to be out four to six weeks.


Radek Martinek suffered a torn ACL in his right knee on Nov. 6 against New Jersey and is out for the season.


THIS DATE IN BRUINS HISTORY

On March 6, 1982, Rogie Vachon records his 355th (and final) NHL career victory as the Bruins won 4-0 over the visiting L.A. Kings. It was also the 51st and final career shutout for Vachon.


OVERHEARD

“Yeah we had passion. I felt our team had passion. The part we didn’t have was some strong plays. We had lots of turnovers — things that we know we need to get better at.’’
–Claude Julien, on what his team needs to correct going forward

PRESS BOX

Bruins
Tuukka Rask is hurt, but his efforts before the Olympic break are not forgotten.

Bloggers reacted harshly to the Bruins not finding a scorer at the trade deadline.


Don Cherry believes Milan Lucic quit during his fight with Colton Orr on Thursday.


Islanders
The Isles are making progress on the ice, but off it, they have had another turbulent season.


Here’s the game story from the Isles’ 6-3 loss to Atlanta on Thursday.

The Islanders decided to keep both Martin Biron and Dwayne Roloson at the trade deadline.

NHL
The Senators have quietly become Cup contenders.


Maxim Lapierre was suspended for an ugly hit on Scott Nichol.


The Coyotes stocked up at the trade deadline, but is there a conflict of interest since the NHL owns them?


OUTLOOK

Claude Julien is right: The Bruins’ passion was back on Thursday after a listless third period on Tuesday, and the B’s need to maintain that energy going forward — but they also need to find their game again. The little nuances are essential for a team that struggles to score as much as this Bruins squad does, and Boston must not make it any easier for its opponents.

The Bruins haven’t beaten this Islanders team for those exact reasons. In the first three games between the two clubs, Boston burned itself with mistakes and mental lapses. The B’s need to avoid that on Saturday against what has proven to be a young but very hungry team full of raw skill.

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