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GAME: Boston Bruins (30-15-12-6) at New York Islanders (29-22-8-2).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

For years Nassau Coliseum was an exciting place to play for everyone but the New York Islanders.

Those days are long gone.

The Islanders will look to add to their Eastern Conference-leading home win total and grab a valuable two points in the playoff race when they take on the Boston Bruins.

New York has won 21 of 31 home games this season (21-8-2), trailing only Detroit (23-5-3). The Islanders haven't been this many games above .500 at the Coliseum since finishing the 1987-88 season 24-10-6 at home.

The Islanders were 244-280-69-4 over the previous 15 seasons at the Coliseum. Not surprisingly, they failed to make the playoffs seven times in that span.

Things are different this season. The Islanders are unbeaten in their last eight at the Coliseum (6-0-2) and appear to be headed toward their third straight postseason appearance.

New York is 9-3-5-1 overall since Jan. 15 and is tied for seventh place in the East with Montreal, five points ahead of Buffalo, with 21 games to play.

The Islanders had an easy home win on Saturday, routing the Sabres 4-1.

"It was definitely our best 60 minutes," All-Star defenseman Adrian Aucoin said. "We've played great for a period here, a period there, but this was a complete effort."

Aucoin and Shawn Bates, who had not scored in his previous 32 games, each had a goal and an assist.

"It's just a great feeling to get back on the score sheet," Bates said. "Mentally, it gets to you pretty bad."

Not all the news is good for the Islanders. Defenseman Radek Martinek will miss the next six weeks after fracturing his left ankle during Wednesday's win over Pittsburgh.

The Bruins, who are three points out of the top spot in the East, are coming off a 2-0 home loss to Florida on Monday.

Roberto Luongo made 38 saves as the Panthers handed the Bruins their first loss in regulation in 13 games (8-1-2-2).

"I don't think we played with as much energy as we have as of late, but I think we played hard," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Boston has been shut out seven times this season, with six at home, a franchise record.

STANDINGS: Bruins - 78 points, 3rd place, 3 PB, Northeast Division. Islanders - 68 points, 3rd place, 12 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Glen Murray, 27 goals; Joe Thornton, 45 assists and 61 points; Doug Doull, 108 PIM. Islanders - Trent Hunter, 22 goals and 43 points; Aucoin, 28 assists; Eric Cairns, 139 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 22): Bruins - Power play: 16.5 percent (38 for 231), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.7 percent (211 for 252), 20th. Islanders - Power play: 17.4 percent (42 for 241), 8th (tied). Penalty killing: 85.6 percent (232 for 271), 2nd (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Andrew Raycroft (21-14-7, 3 SO, 1.97 GAA); Felix Potvin (9-7-5, 3, 2.77). Islanders - Rick DiPietro (15-11-4, 2, 2.27); Garth Snow (14-13-4, 1, 2.72).

SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 1-0-2.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 29; Bruins, 2-1, OT. At Boston, Murray stripped Jason Blake at center ice and beat DiPietro on a breakaway for his 500th career point. Oleg Kvasha scored short-handed for New York.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 18-6-5-5 on the road; Islanders - 21-8-2-0 at home.

Associated Press
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