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Balanced Bruins overcome Islanders, DiPietro

by Matt Kalman

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins continued to spread the wealth and prove they’re one of the most balanced teams in the NHL when they defeated the New York Islanders 4-2 Friday night.

Zdeno Chara became the third of four Bruins to score his first goal when he buried the tiebreaker 7:07 into the third period, spoiling the first two-goal NHL game by New York Islanders forward Keith Aucoin.

Boston's Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell scored their first goals prior to Chara's score, and Patrice Bergeron added his later in the third period. The Bruins have 11 goals from nine players this season.

Fifteen players have at least one point for the Bruins, who are 3-0-1. Boston has started the season with points in its first four games for the first time since the Bruins went 3-0-1 to start the 2000-01 season.

"It's really tough to gain back points that you give away early in the season, especially with the shortened season. And every team's so good nowadays, it's a point or two that separate teams from making the playoffs or not," Campbell said. "It's often these games early in the season that you look back on and say, 'Jeez, I wish we would've got that point.' So it's critical for us to put a lot of importance on these games, especially with two days off and going on the road, this is a big game for us."

Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton recorded two assists for his first NHL multipoint game. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves for the Bruins, and Rick DiPietro finished with 23 saves for the Islanders in his first start since Dec. 2, 2011.

"I felt good. It's always exciting playing back here in Boston, and I always look forward to playing in this building," said DiPietro, who hails from nearby Winthrop, Mass. "I was excited. I think I hate losing more than I like winning. This is not the result I was looking for."

Chara beat DiPietro through a screen with a wrist shot from the high slot. The Bruins' top line cycled the puck down low until Milan Lucic made it to the bottom of the right circle and found Chara open and waiting for a pass.

"Yeah, I mean ... they did a good job of getting traffic to the front of the net and you got him [Chara] shooting from the top of the circle through a screen; it is what it is," DiPietro said. "Again, I think we want to be known as a third-period team, we want to finish games like that."

Despite being sick, Thornton opened the scoring at 4:52 with help from Hamilton, who rifled a shot from the right point toward the slot. The puck was knocked down and Thornton flipped it into the back of the goal with a backhand shot.

The Bruins' lead lasted until a defensive breakdown led to Aucoin's first goal. With four Bruins focused on David Ullstrom, the Islanders forward moved the puck to linemate Colin McDonald, who fed it out front to Aucoin all alone in front for the goal that tied the game 1-1 at 11:13.

Aucoin, a native of nearby Waltham, Mass., continued to impress the team he joined last week on waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs with his second goal of the night (third in two nights) at 9:50 of the second period to give New York its first lead. Daniel Paille’s clearing attempt from the corner slid up the middle of Boston's zone and Aucoin hammered it over Rask's catching glove for a 2-1 edge.

"I had a lot of my family [here]. I played a lot of games here, especially in the playoffs," said Aucoin, who was with the Washington Capitals last spring when they ousted the Bruins in a first-round Game 7 at the Garden. "To be on the board tonight, it was a pretty good feeling to do in front of my family and friends."

Like Thornton before him, Campbell scored his goal from in front of the net. After David Krejci spun and fired a shot from the left-wing half boards, Joe Finley blocked the shot right to Campbell, who fired it inside the right post to even the score at 2-2 with 6:18 remaining in the second period.

Bergeron added his goal on a breakaway with 6:27 left in the regulation.

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