Red-hot Bruins visit Islanders
For the Boston Bruins, it's 14 and counting.
For the Boston Bruins, it's 14 and counting.
Fourteen consecutive games the Bruins have gained a point, a run helping vault them near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Bruins attempt to gain at least one point for the 15th straight game Thursday night when they visit the New York Islanders at Barclays Center.
Starting with a 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Dec. 16, the Bruins are 10-0-4 in their last 14 games. Boston has scored at least three goals in 11 of those games, including Wednesday's 4-1 home victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
"We feel so good about our game that we know over the course of 60 minutes that we'll get our chances if we're working hard and stick to you our layers and stick to our defensive posture that will turn into offense for us, so you know it's just confidence in our system and the way that," Boston defenseman Torey Krug said.
It is their longest run since going 15-0-1 from March 2-30, 2014. It also is the longest stretch in the league this season and placed the Bruins within seven points of Tampa Bay for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Boston last played a game without getting a point Dec. 14, when it was dealt a 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals and that was a rare empty night. Since their 6-7-4 start, the Bruins are 19-3-4 in the last 26 games.
Brad Marchand scored a power-play goal, giving him seven goals and 17 points in this run. Patrice Bergeron added two assists and has totaled nine goals and 15 points in this streak.
Ryan Spooner scored the tiebreaking goal Wednesday and has five goals in his last seven games.
"We're rolling right now, and guys are stepping up," Krug said. "We're getting contributions from everyone and that's a big part of it.
Tuukka Rask made 21 saves Wednesday and is 13-0-2 in his last 15 decisions. It is the longest streak by a goaltender without a regulation defeat.
The Islanders possess 50 points, which places them one point out of a wild card spot with 36 games remaining. New York's playoff standing was a little more comfortable about a month ago when it was 18-12-3 following an overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings.
The Islanders are 4-7-1 since with five of those losses occurring by three goals or more. One was a 5-1 home setback to Boston on Jan. 2 and, another was Tuesday's 4-1 home loss to the New Jersey Devils.
Anders Lee scored on a breakaway in the opening minutes of the game, but the Islanders gave up three goals in the second period. Their performance stopped a three-game winning streak.
The Islanders lost after John Tavares scored the game-winning goal in a 5-4 overtime win Monday in Montreal during a game where New York allowed 52 shots on goal.
New York played without several regulars and will do so again. Andrew Ladd will miss his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury while defenseman Johnny Boychuk will sit for the 10th straight game.
Josh Bailey seems the closest to returning after missing his fourth straight game. He skated again for the fourth straight day Wednesday and may return Thursday.
"The fact is we have seven, now eight, guys out," said Islanders coach Doug Weight, who is 47-31-8 in 86 games since taking over for Jack Capuano on Jan. 17, 2017. "Listen, no one has a violin here. I'm not looking for it, but it's tough."
Bailey has 12 goals and is second on the team with 50 points. Shortly before getting injured Jan. 5 versus Pittsburgh, he accumulated seven goals and 19 points in an 11-game point streak from Dec. 9-31.
Boychuk and Ladd, who are on injured reserve also skated Wednesday, but it seems unlikely they will return.
"You pray for a quick recovery for the injured guys," New York's Thomas Hickey said, "but we have to find a way ourselves."
The Islanders will try against the hottest team in the NHL and an opponent who beat them 5-1 in Brooklyn Jan. 2 and 3-1 in Boston last month.
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