Islanders-Bruins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 25, 2013
The Boston Bruins are off to a strong start even with their offense not fully in gear yet. Matchups with the New York Islanders usually provide a big boost to their production. Boston looks to rebound from its first loss and continue its success against the Islanders when the teams meet Friday night at TD Garden. Expected to be among the best teams in the Eastern Conference, the Bruins (2-0-1) haven't disappointed. They won their first two games before starting slowly at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, but rallied from a pair of deficits to gain a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers. Brad Marchand scored the Bruins' first power-play goal, and Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton also tallied. Horton's goal was his first in more than a year as he was sidelined by a concussion last January until the NHL resumed last weekend. "We redeemed ourselves pretty well. It could have been worse,'' coach Claude Julien said. "The first 10 minutes is what obviously cost us the game. What I liked about our team is their resiliency to get back and start playing like the way we should have.'' Boston, which is 1 for 14 with the man advantage, has only scored seven goals, excluding one awarded for Monday's shootout win over Winnipeg. Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin and David Krejci - the team's three leading scorers last season - are still searching for their first goal. If last season is any indication, those droughts could end Friday. The Bruins won three of four meetings against the Islanders (2-1-0) last season, scoring six goals in each of the victories. Krejci and Seguin tied for the team lead with three goals and six points in the season series, while Bergeron had two goals and two assists. Lucic also had six points against New York in 2011-12, giving him six goals and eight assists in the last 11 matchups. Tuukka Rask, likely to start his fourth straight game, has also performed very well against the Islanders, going 4-1-0 with a 2.52 goals-against average in six starts. New York opened a five-game trip by scoring four third-period goals in a come-from-behind 7-4 victory over Toronto on Thursday. Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner had two goals apiece to help the Islanders win their road opener for the first time since 2007. "It's huge," Keith Aucoin, who scored his first of the season, told the Islanders' official website. "Especially with the new group of guys we have here, getting to know each other. To come back from a 3-1 deficit like we did took a group effort. It was good to see, and great to get this road trip off to a good start." Scoring 11 goals in two games is a very good sign for an Islanders team that ranked 28th in the league last season with 2.39 per contest. Evgeni Nabokov has been the beneficiary of that offense, but Rick DiPietro could see his first action of the season with games on back-to-back nights. DiPietro was limited to eight games in 2011-12 due to a groin injury and hernia surgery and hasn't played a full season since 2007-08. He's lost five consecutive starts against the Bruins, compiling a 3.73 GAA. Boston has won seven of nine against New York, but lost the most recent home matchup, 3-2 on March 3.
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