The New York Islanders will look to rebound from their worst defeat of the season when they travel to face the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
The meeting is the first of three between the two Eastern Conference contenders this season. New York comes in off an 8-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, while Boston has dropped six of its last seven (1-4-2) in its longest slump thus far.
The Bruins have won seven straight and 12 of their last 14 games against the Islanders. New York’s two victories in that time were each on the road.
In the setback against the Predators on Tuesday, the Islanders seized a 3-1 lead at 8:11 of the second period on a Casey Cizikas short-handed goal. From there, Nashville scored seven unanswered — four coming in the second to drive out starting goalie Thomas Greiss, and three more in the third against his replacement, Semyon Varlamov.
The showing was one of the team’s worst under coach Barry Trotz in his second year and marked its first regulation loss (19-1-1) this season when scoring three or more goals.
“I can’t remember the last time one of my teams gave up eight goals,” Trotz said. “We’re not going dwell on it. We can’t do anything about getting this game back. … You have to let it go. You have to tear it up a little bit and move on.”
New York’s previous high in goals allowed in a game this season was five. Despite the setback, the team still has given up the fewest goals (80) in the league.
“We’ve got to just regroup here, move on and put this one behind us,” forward Anders Lee said. “This doesn’t happen often. At least not at all recently for sure. We (need to) respond in Boston.”
The Bruins will be looking to respond from losing 4-3 in overtime to the lowly Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Boston held a 3-2 lead late in the third period before Matt Roy scored the equalizer for the Kings with 2:01 left — seconds after they pulled their goalie.
Boston had two breakaway chances in overtime but couldn’t convert, leading the way to Anze Kopitar’s game-winner for Los Angeles.
“Listen, there’s 82 of these. I thought we certainly played well enough to win,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Not very happy getting only one point tonight, some nights you’re satisfied. In terms of how we played the game, the process part of it, there was better things than, say, two weeks ago.”
During their recent skid, the Bruins have lost games to several of the league’s weakest teams in Los Angeles, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Ottawa Senators. Boston’s loss Tuesday came in the opener of a four-game homestand heading into the Christmas break.
“Four big games before having a couple days of rest,” Patrice Bergeron said before the setback. “Leave everything on the line. We know what’s at stake … it’s big points on the table, and we’re ready for that.”
–Field Level Media