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Bruins face Isles looking for eighth in a row

by Matthew Mankiewich

BRUINS (10-7-0) at ISLANDERS (5-8-3)

TV: NESN (HD), MSG Plus (HD)

Last 10: Boston 7-3-0, New York 2-5-3

Season Series: One already in the books, a 6-2 Boston win on Nov. 7 that was the Bruins' third win in a row, a streak that has since grown to seven. They took three of four last season, splitting two games at the Nassau Coliseum.

Big Story: The defending Stanley Cup champions started their season by going 3-7-0 in October. November is a different story -- Boston is 7-0-0 to move into the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders had been showing signs of turning the corner on a 1-7-3 stretch by playing the Rangers tough on Tuesday, finally breaking into the win column again with Thursday's 4-3 home victory over the Canadiens.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Teams that win a lot win in a lot of different ways. Certainly when the Bruins last met the Islanders, they were blowing teams off the ice, outscoring their opponents 18-5 in three games and 18-9 in the next three. The Blue Jackets were not so easy to handle on Thursday. Curtis Sanford made the most of his first NHL start in three years, matching Tuukka Rask everywhere until the Bruins won the shootout for a 2-1 victory that kept the streak going.

"Lot of things I didn't really specifically like about our game," coach Claude Julien told the Boston Globe. "But the one thing I liked is that no matter what, we still found a way to win. There's going to be nights, where you have an 82-game schedule, where you play well and come out with nothing and probably deserve better. There's going to be nights where you maybe don't get as good a game out of your team, but you still find a way to win. That's where you've got to give credit to your team, for finding a way to win those games."

Islanders: Struggling teams certainly don't look for a way to lose, but losing tends to find them. Desperate to break their schneid, the Islanders managed to take advantage of a worn-down Canadiens team and keep them down just long enough to seal a 4-3 win Thursday. After both teams hit posts and crossbars in the first period, the Isles found the net three times in the second.

"We used the whole offensive zone tonight, and I thought that allowed us some more time and space," center John Tavares said.

The Habs found their second wind, however, and scored twice late in the period. Matt Moulson had an answer, though, 37 seconds after Montreal's second goal and the Islanders held on through the third.

"That's what we have to do, We have to get the next one when something like that happens," Moulson said. "Not every game is going to be perfect, so you have to be resilient. We had a different attitude than we had in previous games. We knew we were going to get that next one."

Who's Hot: Zdeno Chara has points in six of his last eight games, all assists, while Rich Peverley has six points in his last five. Tyler Seguin has been kept off the board the last two games after logging 11 points in the previous six, but his plus-15 rating is tied with Ryan Suter for second in the NHL. Chara is sixth at plus-11. … Islanders points leader Tavares hasn't scored a goal since Nov. 5, but has had assists in four of the five games since.

Injury Report: Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (flu-like symptoms) missed Thursday's game. … Rick DiPietro was pressed into service in the first period Thursday after Evgeni Nabokov had to leave the game with a groin injury that expected to keep him out for at least a couple of weeks.

Stat Pack: Jay Pandolfo's goal for the Isles on Thursday was his first NHL tally since Jan 2, 2010, when he was still with the Devils against the Wild, and the 100th of his career. Nabokov hasn't had a win in seven starts. … Rask lost his first three starts in which his teammates scored a total of three goals, won his next two when they scored six in each, then worked hard for his latest win in which the B's scored once in regulation again. Boston's six-game home winning streak is the most since a 14-game run from Oct. 25, 2008-Jan 1, 2009. Overall, the seven-game streak is the longest since the B's won seven in a row from Feb. 17 - Mar. 3, 2011.

Puck Drop: "We need to play with some desperation, we need to play with some urgency. It's the middle of November now, and the time for excuses is over. We understand that. We're going to come in here every night and lay it on the line." -- DiPietro on the Isles' need to build on Thursday's win.

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