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Game Preview: Islanders at Bruins

Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference battle in Boston (7 p.m., NBCSN)

by Sasha Kandrach KandrachSasha / NewYorkIslanders.com

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (22-8-2) AT BOSTON BRUINS (21-7-7)

7 PM | TD GARDEN

WATCH: NBCSN | SNE | SNO | SNP | TVAS

LISTEN: 88.7FM | 103.9FM | 1050AM


The Islanders had an uncharacteristic 8-3 loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at NYCB Live Nassau Coliseum. Brock Nelson and Derick Brassard scored while Casey Cizikas had a shorthanded goal to put the Isles up 3-1 with 8:11 remaining in the second period before Nashville scored seven straight goals. Thomas Greiss made 10 saves and was relieved as Semyon Varlamov started the third period and made six saves through the final 20 minutes of play. 

The Bruins opened up a four-game homestand with a 4-3 OT loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. Danton Heinen, Patrice Bergeron and Brandon Carlo scored for the Bruins while Tuukka Rask made 23 saves. 



MORNING SKATE UPDATES: 

- Semyon Varlamov was the first goalie off the ice at the team's optional morning skate, suggesting he'll start in goal. Varlamov is 11-3-2 with a 2.37 GAA and a .923 SV% with one shutout. Varlamov is 3-0-0 in his last three starts. 

- Head Coach Barry Trotz did not provide any updates on the Islanders lineup. 

- Tuukka Rask will start in goal for the Bruins. Rask is 13-4-4 this season with a 2.32 GAA and a .923 SV% with two shutouts. 

- Bruins projected lines (courtesty of @NHLBruins):

Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
DeBrusk - Krejci - Heinen
Bjork - Coyle - Wagner
Nordstrom - Kuraly - Backes

Chara - McAvoy
Krug - Carlo
Grzelcyk - Clifton

Rask
Halak


ISLES NOTES:

-   Nelson scored his 12th goal of the season and is now one goal shy of tying Mathew Barzal for the goal-scoring lead. Through 32 games this season, the center has 26 points (12G, 14A), which is also one back of Barzal for the team lead. Nelson has five points (3G, 2A) in his last four games. 

-   Brassard scored his eighth goal of the season and snapped an eight-game point drought. Through 32 games this season, Brassard has 18 points (8G, 10A). 

-   Cizikas scored his second shorthanded goal of the season and the Islanders fifth shorthanded goal of the year. Cizikas now has four shorthanded points (2G, 2A) on the Isles' five shorthanded goals one shy of Vegas' forward William Karlsson, who has five shorthanded points.

-   The Islanders five shorthanded goals are tied with five other teams for the third-most in the NHL this season.

-   The Islanders continued their goalie rotation as Greiss made his 16th start of the season. The Isles are first team since the Sharks in 2006-07 to alternate starting goalies for each of the first 32 games of the season. Greiss has a 2.39 GAA and a .924 save percentage. 

-   The loss to Nashville was the Isles' first in regulation time on home-ice since Oct. 8. The loss also snapped the Isles' home point streak at 13 (12-0-1) and ended their six-game home win streak and three-game overall win streak.

-   The uncharacteristic loss was also the first time this since Nov. 18, 2018 that the Isles have allowed four goals in one period. The Isles hadn't allowed eight goals against since March 3, 2017 against Carolina.

-   Nick Leddy returned to the lineup for the first time in three games after being sidelined with a lower-body injury. Leddy logged 19:31 time on ice, had two shots on goal and two hits against the Predators. 

-   Michael Dal Colle is still recovering from an upper-body injury that the forward sustained in the first period against Buffalo last Saturday. Dal Colle has returned to skating on his own, but will not to return to the lineup against Boston, per Trotz. 


Video: Practice 12/18: Barry Trotz


BRUINS NOTES:

-   The Bruins have won only one of their last seven games (1-4-2), but lead the Atlantic Division by 10 points. The Bruins have 49 points - second-most in the NHL - and a record of 21-7-7. 

-   David Pastrnak leads the NHL with 28 goals - including a league-high 13 power-play goals - through 35 games this year. Pastrnak has a total of 49 points, which ranks sixth in the league. Pastrnak has six points (3G, 3A) in his last five games. 

-   Brad Marchand leads the Bruins in assists (33) and points (51) and has 18 goals through 35 games. In the NHL, Marchand is tied with Washington's John Carlson for third-highest amount of assists. The winger extended his point streak to five games with seven points (all assists) during that span. 

-   Heinen scored his sixth goal and third power-play goal of the season on Tuesday. Through 35 games, the winger has 15 points (6G, 9A). Heinen also assisted on Carlo's goal. 

-   Bergeron scored his 11th goal of the season and extend his point streak to three games, where the centerman has three points (2G, 1A) throughout that span. Through 26 games this season, Bergeron has 28 points (11G, 17A). 

-   Carlo scored his third goal of the season. Through 35 games, the blueliner has 11 points (3G, 8A). 

-   Rask made his 21st start of the season. The Bruins netminder has a record of 13-4-4, a 2.32 GAA and a .923 SV%. Rask's two shutouts are tied with seven other goaltenders for second-best in the NHL.

-   Former Islander Jaroslav Halak has made 14 starts this season and has a record of 8-3-3, a 2.26 GAA and a .928 SV%. Halak also has two shutouts this season. 

-   The Bruins power play is ranked third-best in the NHL with a 26.4% conversion rate. 

-   Forward Zach Senyshyn was activated from IR on Wednesday afternoon and was assigned to the Bruins AHL affiliate the Providence Bruins. Senyshyn had been sidelined since Nov. 12 with a lower-body injury. 


ISLES VS. BRUINS:

Boston won all three games between the clubs last season. Boston claimed the first meeting 2-1 on Oct. 29 in a shootout in Boston. Anders Lee scored the Isles sole goal. Boston beat the Isles 3-1 in the second meeting as Jordan Eberle scored the sole goal. Boston shut out the Islanders 5-0 during the final meeting on March 19.

The Islanders are 0-6-1 in their last seven games against Boston.

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