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Game Preview: Islanders at Bruins

by Cory Wright / New York Islanders
The New York Islanders have followed up losing streaks with winning runs this season and look to continue the trend against the Boston Bruins tonight at TD Garden at 7 p.m.


The Islanders got back in the win column Thursday night in Philadelphia, halting a three-game slide. The last time the Islanders lost three straight, they won four in a row, part of a 7-1-1 streak. Before that, the last time they lost two in a row, they rattled off a 6-1-1 run immediately after.

Their current three-game road swing stops in Boston for their toughest test of the trip. The Bruins are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, including a 5-2 win at Nassau Coliseum on Jan. 29. The road team has won both games of the Islanders-Bruins season series, as the Isles bested Boston 3-2 on Oct. 23. The Islanders have won three straight games in Boston.

“Boston is a pretty good team, they are rolling now,” Head Coach Jack Capuano said. “They have quite a few wins and played a real tough game against the Rangers the other night. It’s a good measuring stick for us as we move through.”

The Islanders re-took first place in the Metropolitan Division Thursday, but gridlock is starting to form at the top of the Met. The Pittsburgh Penguins took the lead back Friday and lead the Islanders by one point, while the Rangers lurk three points back with two games in hand. The Washington Capitals are also within striking distance of the top spot, but the Islanders are a point up with two games in hand on the Caps.

The Islanders record against the Metro (17-2-0) has helped them stay at the top of the division, but they’ll need to improve their 7-7-1 record vs. the Atlantic Division to preserve potential home-ice advantage.

The Bruins are currently the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference – five points ahead of the Florida Panthers – but their size and depth make them a tough matchup for any team in the East. The Bruins continue to score by committee, as seven players have at least 10 goals.

Tuukka Rask is also rounding into form, as the Bruins netminder is 7-2-1 over his last 10 games and has earned at least a point in 12 of his last 14 contests. Rask made 43 saves in the Bruins win over the Islanders last week and is likely to start tonight.

The puck drops on the series finale tonight at 7 p.m.

New York Islanders
33-17-1 (67 points – 2nd in Metropolitan Division, T-4th in Eastern Conference)
16-11-1 road
Boston Bruins
27-17-7 (61 points - 4th in Atlantic Division, 8th in Eastern Conference)
16-7-4 home
7:00  p.m.
TD Garden
Boston, MA

Television:
MSG PLUS 2
Play-by-play: Howie Rose
; Color: Butch Goring
Channel Finder

Radio: WRHU 88.7 FM, LI News Radio 103.9 FM
Play-by-play: Chris King
Islanders News:
- Islanders 3, Flyers 2 (SO) (Feb. 5)
- MSG: Isles Top 10 Plays for January (Feb. 5)
- MSG: Bill Torrey Interview (Feb. 3)
Islanders player to watch
Cal Clutterbuck - Forward

Cal Clutterbuck is usually an agitator, but he played the hero Thursday night, scoring the game-tying goal, as well as the shootout winner in a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Clutterbuck busted a 19-game goalless drought, but the gritty forward contributes in other ways on the ice. Clutterbuck is second in the NHL with 216 hits.
Bruins player to watch
Milan Lucic - Forward

Milan Lucic is heating up for the Bruins, with five points (two goals, three assists) in his last four games, including a three-point night (one goal, two assists) against the Islanders on Jan. 29. Lucic is a tough customer, as he leads the Bruins with 156 hits and 71 PIMs this season. Lucic has 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) on the year. 
New York Islanders previous game lines
Forwards
27 Anders Lee 91 John Tavares 12 Josh Bailey
84 Mikhail Grabovski51 Frans Nielsen18 Ryan Strome
40 Michael Grabner 29 Brock Nelson86 Nikolay Kulemin
17 Matt Martin – 53 Casey Cizikas – 15 Cal Clutterbuck

Defensemen

2 Nick Leddy 55 Johnny Boychuk
44 Calvin de Haan 3 Travis Hamonic
14 Thomas Hickey37 Brian Strait

Goaltenders
41 Jaroslav Halak
30 Chad Johnson
Boston Bruins previous game lines
Forwards
17 Milan Lucic - 46 David Krejci - 18 Reilly Smith
63 Brad Marchand - 37 Patrice Bergeron - 21 Loui Eriksson
23 Chris Kelly - 34 Carl Soderberg - 88 David Pastrnak
20 Daniel Paille - 11 Gregory Campbell - 61 Craig Cunningham

Defenseman
33 Zdeno Chara - 27 Dougie Hamilton
44 Dennis Seidenberg - 54 Adam McQuaid
47 Torey Krug - 86 Kevan Miller

Goaltenders
40 Tuukka Rask
72 Niklas Svedberg


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