Islanders-Bruins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 02, 2012
The Boston Bruins are fighting to increase their slim lead in the Northeast Division, and another home victory over the slumping New York Islanders would extend that edge. Boston seeks its 10th victory in the last 11 home meetings with the Islanders, who try to avoid a sixth straight road loss Saturday afternoon. The Bruins struggled in February, going 5-7-1 as second-place Ottawa closed the gap in the division. They opened March with a 4-3 overtime win over New Jersey on Thursday behind David Krejci's second career hat trick. Krejci had three goals and two assists in his previous 16 games, and coach Claude Julien moved him to the wing at times in hopes of ending his struggles. Krejci centered a line with Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic on Thursday and scored in overtime. "He's one of our top players and when he's producing the way he did tonight there's no doubt our team is much better," Julien said. Seguin had a goal and an assist and Lucic finished with two assists. "I want to do my best every game and I was feeling really good before the game and I got (Seguin) on my line so I was excited about it," Krejci said. "We click well together with (Lucic) and him and it was a good game for us." The three players each had a goal in a 6-2 home victory over the Islanders on Nov. 7. Tim Thomas made 23 saves in a 6-0 win on Long Island on Nov. 19, improving the Bruins to 13-2-1 in the last 16 meetings overall. New York (26-29-9) has lost three straight and five of six following a 6-3 defeat at Philadelphia on Thursday. The Islanders have lost five straight on the road after winning six of seven away from home Jan. 17-Feb. 14. Their only win in Boston since 2007 was 4-1 on Nov. 16, 2009. Josh Bailey scored twice Thursday after netting a goal in Tuesday's 3-2 overtime loss at Washington. He had gone without a point in his previous nine games. "We can't be losing games like this," Bailey said. "We've got to get results." Bailey also said the Islanders need to get past the recent defeats if they are to be competitive down the stretch. New York has been outscored 25-11 over its last six games, allowing opponents to go 7 for 19 on the power play while scoring once in 15 attempts with the man advantage. "As tough as it is, you have to move forward and approach the game with a level head and have a short-term memory," Bailey said. "If we want to make a push here, we really have to make things happen and try to swing together a few victories." Evgeni Nabokov has struggled in net of late, going 0-2-1 with a 4.01 goals-against average in his last three starts. He allowed three goals on 12 shots before being pulled in the first period of the first meeting with Boston. Thomas has won his last five home starts against the Islanders with a 1.58 GAA.
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