NEW YORK -- The Boston Bruins hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference after defeating the New York Islanders 2-1 at Barclays Center on Saturday.
The Bruins (39-30-6), who ended a four-game losing streak, took a two-point lead on the Islanders (35-27-12). The teams were tied heading into the game.
"Everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year," said Riley Nash, who scored the Bruins goals.
Boston is one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division. Toronto, which lost to the Buffalo Sabres 5-2, has a game in hand on Boston.
WATCH: All Bruins vs. Islanders highlights
"Especially on the road against an opponent that, well, we've discussed that, we're sitting right beside, so it's a big two points," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.
Anton Khudobin made 18 saves. He started because Tuukka Rask was out with lower-body injury.
The Bruins were 6-for-6 with eight shots allowed on the penalty kill. They allowed seven power-play goals on 19 times shorthanded during their losing streak, including two in a 6-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
"We eliminated seam plays for the most part," Cassidy said. "When they got their shots, they generally went around the box. In 12 minutes of [shorthanded] time you might sneak one or two through there, but we tightened that up. That was an issue against Tampa the other night. And I think the second chances we cleared. Those were the two biggest things."
Video: BOS@NYI: Nash scores on odd-man rush with low wrister
John Tavares scored in the first period, but he his the crossbar during a power play at 13:11 of the third. Khudobin also denied him on three shots during Islanders power plays, including two in the third period.
"We probably had three good power plays and three not very good," Tavares said. "Obviously I think I had two very good looks and it would be nice to put those in, off the bar and one off his shoulder that he didn't even see. It's a matter of inches."
The Islanders didn't have an even-strength shot on goal in the second period and didn't get their first even-strength shot in the third until 15:11. They finished with 10.
Video: BOS@NYI: Greiss scrambles to deny multiple attempts
"We got back to playing stingy, especially in the neutral zone denying their speed," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "They have a lot of speed and they want to get the puck into the zone without having to dump it too many times. We were trying to deny that and limit their speed. We got away from that the last few games and tonight it was good to be back playing the way we want to play, playing a game low scoring like we're used to playing."
Nash gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead when he beat Thomas Greiss with a shot from the right circle after receiving a pass from Dominic Moore. Nash tied the game at 10:41 of the first period, when he took the puck from Scott Mayfield and beat Greiss with a low, short-side shot.
Tavares scored his 28th goal of the season at 10:05 of the first period.
Goal of the game
Tavares got the puck at the far blue line, carried it into the zone and down the middle. He made a move around Bruins forward David Pastrnak, shot around defenseman Adam McQuaid and past Khudobin.
Video: BOS@NYI: Tavares weaves into zone and nets wrister
Save of the game
Khudobin made a glove save on Brock Nelson's one-timer off of a rebound at 10:32 of the third period. It looked like Nelson's shot fooled him, but he got enough of his glove on it to make the save and preserve the 2-1 lead.
Video: BOS@NYI: Khudobin turns aside de Haan, Nelson
Highlight of the game
Moore took the puck away from Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech and saw Nash coming into the zone. He found him with a cross-ice pass. Nash carried the puck into the right circle and beat Greiss with a low blocker shot for the winning goal.
Video: BOS@NYI: Nash cuts in and scores second of the game
Unsung performance of the game
Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara played a Bruins-high 23:32, including a game-high 8:29 shorthanded. He had two blocked shots and eight hits.
They said it
"We often say you can't get too low or too high. Now you have to move on and be ready for the next game. Obviously build from the good things we've done and really bring that same game that we had tonight." -- Bruins center Patrice Bergeron
"We've got eight games. If we're going to hang our heads because we didn't get this one, I mean we're still right there. Not much time left, but obviously still enough for us to get in [the playoffs]." -- Islanders captain John Tavares
Need to know
Cassidy said he expects Rask to practice Monday. … Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin (upper body) was scratched.
Bruins: Host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; SN1, SNO, TVA Sports, NESN, FS-TN, NHL.TV)
Islanders: Host the Nashville Predators on Monday (7 p.m. ET; SN, MSG+, FS-TN, NHL.TV)
Video: Nash's two goals lead Bruins past Islanders, 2-1