It wasn't the crispest of efforts, as Claude Julien had to resort to shuffling his top lines to try to get some guys going. But the fourth line delivered with Shawn Thornton scoring his 10th of the season in his first game back from injury and Gregory Campbell providing the game-winner in the second period.
The Bruins top the century mark as they now have 101 points with two games to play. Next up is the home finale against Ottawa on Saturday.
Third Period, 19:19, Bruins 3-2: DiPietro is finally able to go to the bench for the extra attacker after several false starts as the Bruins kept the Isles hemmed in their own zone.
Third Period, 16:27, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins kill that penalty off. Very important kill there for the Bruins as they try to hold on to this lead.
Third Period, 14:27, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins have another penalty to kill as a running battle between Johnny Boychuk and John Tavares escalates. Boychuk wasn't happy with how Tavares took him down and goes back at the Isles center, but Boychuk draws the only penalty for roughing. Huge kill for Boston clinging to a one-goal lead late in the third.
Third Period, 10:34, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins again come up empty on the man-advantage. They're now 0 for 5 on the night on the power play.
Third Period, 8:34, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins get another power-play chance as Matt Campanale gets sent off for delay of game for sending the puck over the glass out of play. Tough play for the UNH product making his NHL debut.
Third Period, 7:41, Bruins 3-2: Michael Ryder gets freight-trained by Trevor Gillies in the Islanders zone, but bounces back up and gets a scoring chance later in the shift.
Third Period, 6:01, Bruins 3-2: Tavares is back on the ice for the Islanders, so whatever repairs he needed when he went down the hallway from the bench didn't take long.
Third Period, 3:13, Bruins 3-2: New York's John Tavares takes a shot up high and heads to the locker room. Appeared to get clipped with a stick, but no penalty was called.
Third Period, 2:34, Bruins 3-2: Solid shift by the Bergeron line early in the third. Some strong work down low leading to a couple of chances by Marchand.
Third Period, 0:00, Bruins 3-2: The final frame is under way here at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to close out this one with a better showing than their third period Monday against the Rangers.
Brick Breaks Down the Game: Spent a few minutes with NESN analyst Andy Brickley to discuss what we've seen so far and what the Bruins need to do in the third to pull out the victory.
Here's Brick's breakdown:
"It's been a wide-open game, but the Islanders can do that to you. Their strength is up front. They're quick and they're skilled and their maturity has grown. They're going to get their chances. But at the same time they have a very young and inexperienced defense, so they're going to give up chances too. The lines that work hard are the ones that are being rewarded, and that's what the [Greg] Campbell line has been so effective.
"I like what Boston has been doing tonight, except on the power play. I don't like what I've seen there at all. You have a 5-on-3 for a full two minutes and can't convert. Then you're up 3-1 and give up a breakaway shorthanded goal when you know [Michael] Grabner is on the ice. The power play has to be more of a weapon.
"In the third, I'm looking for high-percentage plays, great decisions with the puck and for the Bruins to minimize the mistakes. Show why you're where you are in the standings and why they're where they are in the standings. Don't let your minds drift to [the playoffs starting on] April 14. Take care of business here and get to 100 points. That's a special accomplishment."
End Second Period, Bruins 3-2: The Bruins end the second period the same way they started it, with a one-goal lead as each side scored a pair of goals in the middle frame.
Second Period, 14:26, Bruins 3-2: Michael Grabner narrowly missed a shorthanded goal earlier, but he wasn't denied this time.
Grabner gets his second goal of the night with a shorthanded breakaway, beating Tomas Kaberle back up the ice and tucking a backhander inside the near right post.
Second Period, 14:05, Bruins 3-1: The Bruins are going on another power play, and Shawn Thornton's face has taken another beating. This time he's high-sticked by Kyle Okposo. It's just a two-minute penalty, so apparently no blood this time and no need for more stitches for Thornton.
Second Period, 9:09, Bruins 3-1: Gregory Campbell now gets in the act to extend the lead to two goals.
He collected the rebound of an Adam McQuaid shot off the end boards and fired it home at the right post. That was Boston's first 4-on-4 goal of the season, as they were the last team in the league to score in such a situation.
Second Period, 8:04, Bruins 2-1: Zdeno Chara and P.A. Parenteau will each sit for two minutes for roughing after a minor disagreement.
Second Period, 7:51, Bruins 2-1: The Bruins fare a little better at even strength, as they pull ahead again as Dennis Seidenberg fires in a shot from the right point.
Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder were providing the screen in front as the Bruins move back into the lead. Chris Kelly and Peverley pick up the assists.
Second Period, 7:34, 1-1: Ugly power play for the Bruins, who didn't create any chances until the final seconds, while Grabner nearly scored again on a shorthanded bid off a Chara turnover.
Second Period, 5:34, 1-1: The Bruins will get a power-play chance of their own now as Trevor Gillies goes back to the box, this time for high-sticking.
Second Period, 3:24, 1-1: The Islanders convert on the power play to tie it up as Michael Grabner scores his 32nd goal to lead all rookies this year.
Blake Comeau made the play with a move around behind the Bruins goal, coming out on the left side and crossing it to Grabner in the right slot. Rick DiPietro picks up the secondary assist.
Second Period, 1:52, Bruins 1-0: The Bruins will be shorthanded for the first time in this one as he goes off for tripping after kicking out the legs of Jesse Joensuu as he skated by.
Second Period, 0:00, Bruins 1-0: The middle frame is under way here at the Garden, with the Bruins looking to build off Shawn Thornton's last-second goal in the first.
First Intermission Notes: Little bit of history made with Shawn Thornton's last-second goal. With his 10th tally of the season, Thornton and Greg Campbell have become the first Bruins teammates to reach double-digits in both goals and fighting majors in the same season since Cam Neely and Nevn Markwart both did it in 1986-87.
That Thornton goal covered up for a lot of sloppy play in the first period by the Bruins. Boston has been giving away the puck way too much in its own zone, but Tim Thomas has been sharp in covering up for those miscues.
The fourth line, reunited with Thornton back in the lineup, has been Boston's best unit so far. Thornton is playing with a lot of energy has has three shots so far. Daniel Paille also has a pair of shots and both Paille and Greg Campbell picked up assists on the goal. That trio had several other excellent scoring chances earlier in the period as well.
End First Period, Bruins 1-0: The first 19 minutes and 59 seconds were a bit sloppy, but the final second made up for it as Shawn Thornton gives the Bruins the lead heading into the first intermission.
First Period, 19:59, Bruins 1-0: Just one-tenth of a second before the end of the period, Shawn Thornton makes it a triumphant return to the lineup by giving the Bruins a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
Thornton bangs home the shot at the left post from Paille and Dennis Seidenberg to score his 10th goal of the season.
First Period, 18:47, 0-0: Another Bruins turnover leads to another shot on Thomas, who this time stops the deflection in front by Kyle Okposo.
First Period, 16:13, 0-0: After some more sloppy play from the other units, the fourth line settles things down again and once again nearly scores. This time it was off a pretty passing play from Thornton to Campbell on to Paille for the chance in front.
First Period, 12:10, 0-0: Strong shift from the Bruins' fourth line creating some quality chances and turning the momentum back to Boston's side a bit.
First Period, 9:03, 0-0: The Bruins fail to convert the two-man advantage, squandering a big chance to jump out to an early lead.
First Period, 7:03, 0-0: Thornton nearly sets up Daniel Paille for the goal in front with a nice pass off teh right boards. After the whistle, Trevor Gillies and Thornton were jawing, and Chara quickly stepped in to have words with Gillies.
The Islanders end up with two penalties on the play, as John Tavares gets called for hooking and Gillies also gets two for roughing, giving the Bruins a full two minutes of 5-on-3 advantage.
First Period, 5:11, 0-0: Pretty wide open start to this one. Already 10 shots combined, six by the Isles, who have kept Thomas on his toes with some good chances early.
First Period, 1:40, 0-0: Tomas Kaberle in deep for the wraparound attempt, but DiPietro robs him with the stick along the goal line.
First Period, 1:06, 0-0: Some sloppy play in the Boston end by the Bruins leads to a quick chance by Michael Grabner, but Thomas snares it with the glove.
First Period, 0:00, 0-0: This one is under way here at the Garden, with the Bruins opening with Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton up front, Zdeno Chara and Johnny Boychuk on defense and Tim Thomas in goal.
The Islanders counter with Matt Moulson, John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau up front, Ty Wishart and Travis Hamonic on the blue line and Rick DiPietro in net.
7 p.m.: The game will be preceeded by some trophy presentations.
Shawn Thornton receives the Gallery Gods' Eddie Shore Award for exceptional hustle and determination, the Dufrense Award to the Bruin who performed best in home games goes to Tim Thomas, the Johnny Bucyk Award for charitable work in the community goes to Andrew Ference and the season's Three Stars are 3. Milan Lucic, 2. Patrice Bergeron and 1. Tim Thomas.
6:55 p.m.: The Bruins have officially scratched Tyler Seguin, Steven Kampfer and Shane Hnidy. Shawn Thornton is in the lineup.
The Islanders scratch Bruno Gervais, Milan Jurcina, Jack Hillen, Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen, who are all injured.
6:45 p.m.: Tyler Seguin is not on the ice for warm-ups, so it looks like the rookie will be the healthy scratch up front for this one.
Shawn Thornton was on the ice, and appers set to make his return.
The Bruins did have an extra defenseman on the ice, though Shane Hnidy did not take part in the line drills. Steven Kampfer did not skate in warm-ups.
Here are the full line combinations from the warm-up:
6:30 p.m.: Tim Thomas and Rick DiPietro lead the squads onto the ice for warm-ups. That's the goaltending matchup for this one as expected.
6 p.m.: The Bruins and Islanders will meet for the final time this season in about an hour.
With the Bruins likely locked into the third seed in the East and New York already eliminated from playoff contention, there wouldn't seem to be a lot at stake on the surface of this one.
But many of the Islanders are playing for contracts for next year, while the Bruins are looking to get back on track after Monday's collapse against the Rangers.
With that in mind, Claude Julien stated after the morning skate that he would stick with his "main core" in this one rather than resting many guys. Shawn Thornton is expected to return after missing the last three games with a cut to his forehead, while Tim Thomas was the first goalie off the ice at the optional morning skate.
8 a.m.: The Bruins will look to rebound from Monday's third-period collapse against the Rangers when they return home to face New York's other NHL franchise.
The Islanders visit the Garden for the final clash between the clubs. The Bruins won the first two meetings with a 5-2 victory at the Garden on Dec. 9 and a 6-3 win on Long Island on Feb. 17 to open a perfect 6-0-0 road trip.
But Boston also had a dramatic collapse the last time it faced the Isles. The Bruins blew a 2-0 lead when Matt Moulson scored a power-play goal with two seconds left in the second period, then New York struck for three goals in the third for a 4-2 win on March 11.
This one isn't likely to have a lot of impact on the Eastern Conference seedings. The Bruins can still mathematically move up from third as they trail Philadelphia by four points and Washington by six with three games to go, but they are likely locked into that No. 3 spot.
The Islanders, meanwhile, have long been eliminated from playoff contention. That doesn't mean this will be an easy game though. New York has been a tough team to beat in the second half of the season. After a horrendous start to the season, the Isles have come on strong, posting an 8-5-1 record in February and a 7-4-4 mark in March.
Even if the Bruins can beat the Isles, they likely won't be able to beat them up. New York leads the NHL with 1,419 penalty minutes, led by fourth-line center Zenon Konopka, who leads the league for the second straight season with 268 PIMs and 24 fighting majors. Matt Martin (145 PIMs, 13 fights in 65 games), Trevor Gillies (136 PIMs, 8 fights in 36 games spread around a pair of suspensions totaling 19 games) and Michael Haley (83 PIMs, 7 fights in just 24 games) round out the rogues gallery.
The Bruins aren't exactly timid themselves. Boston is second in the league with 70 fighting majors, two spots ahead of the Isles, who are fourth with 66. The Bruins are also sixth with 1,096 penalty minutes and may get their penalty-minute leader back as Shawn Thornton hopes to return after missing the last three games. But he might be best advised to steer clear of the fisticuffs in this one after needing more than 40 stitches to close a cut from a skate blade on his forehead last week.
The Islanders do have some talent to go with that toughness. Moulson has 31-20-51 totals and has been a Bruins killer with 5-3-8 totals in seven games against Boston, while Michael Grabner leads all rookies with 31 goals and 2009 No. 1 overall pick John Tavares has 28-36-64 totals, plus 4-3-7 totals in seven games against the Bruins.
The puck drops at 7 p.m., so check back here throughout the day for updates on all the action.
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