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Bruins back in action with win against Islanders

by David Satriano / NHL.com

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- The Boston Bruins hadn't played in eight days but for the most part didn't appear rusty in a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Thursday.

Forwards Reilly Smith and Milan Lucic each had a goal and two assists for the Bruins (26-16-7), who led 2-0 in the first period. Linemate David Krejci had two assists.

"We played well," Lucic said. "Overall, I thought we did a good job managing the puck. Just working the puck down low and using each other in the O-zone helped us get rewarded tonight."

Boston scored 13:59 into the game when Lucic skated along the left boards and passed the puck to Smith, who was in front of New York goalie Jaroslav Halak and tipped it in for his 10th goal.

The Bruins scored less than three minutes later on their only power play. With Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan in the box for tripping, Patrice Bergeron took a shot from inside the right point which beat Halak for his 12th goal at 16:09.

Boston, which has a point in 12 of its past 13 games (8-1-4), hadn't played since a 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 21.

"We used our time off to rest and we're glad we picked up where we left off," said Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who made 43 saves. "We definitely wanted a good start after the break. We had a good start and this is very key."

Rask made several saves in the second period to protect the lead, including a goal-line stop on Michael Grabner from the left of the crease and a pad save on Brock Nelson with half of the net vacant.

"In the second period there, he was huge," Lucic said of Rask. "The goal-line save, another almost empty net, and he reached up and got it with his left pad. Yeah, we scored five goals, but he kept us in there and allowed us to win that game. He kept it at 2-0 at a period of time there for the second period. I think he was definitely our best player tonight."

Bruins coach Claude Julien said, "We executed our game plan well. We were as quick as [we could] be. Our goaltender was very good."

New York forward John Tavares scored his 23rd goal at 8:25 of the second period. He chipped the puck into the Boston zone, the puck hit Rask's pad, and Tavares put the rebound in the net.

Tavares has scored in four straight games and has a point in five in a row (four goals, five assists).

Grabner tied it 2-2 off a deflection of Johnny Boychuk's shot from the slot through traffic at 4:48. It was the 100th NHL point for Boychuk, who had 75 with the Bruins before being traded this offseason.

New York (32-15-1) had a 45-33 edge in shots on goal.

"We had some more chances," Tavares said. "It seemed like a half inch here or a foot there. It's part of the game. We fought back to make it 2-2, and obviously a couple of goals to end the second and start the third kind of took the life out of us.

It appeared the teams would head into the third period tied, but Halak went behind his net to clear the puck and his attempt went to Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller at the right point. His shot eluded the goalie for a 3-2 Bruins lead with 3.4 seconds left.

"It was a huge goal for us," Rask said. "We were up 2-0 and let them back into the game. We got the momentum back."

Boston extended the lead 1:45 into the third period. Smith passed the puck back to Krug, who took a shot through traffic that deflected off an Islanders player in front.

Lucic scored an empty-net goal at 17:54.

The Islanders lost at home in regulation for the first time since Dec. 23 and are 17-5-0 here.

"It was a battle," Boychuk said. "They are a tough team to play against."

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