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Bruins face off against surprising Islanders

by Brian Compton /

ISLANDERS (7-6-7) at BRUINS (8-7-4)

Last 10 --
New York 6-2-2; Boston 4-3-3.

Season series --
This is the second of four meetings between the teams. The Islanders blew a 3-0 lead late in the third period and ended up dropping a 4-3 shootout decision at Boston on Oct. 10.

Big story -- Monday marks the fourth game of the Islanders' season-long seven-game road trip, and they've yet to lose in regulation. New York is 1-0-2 in the first three and rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the third period to force overtime at Florida on Saturday. All three contests have gone past regulation.

Team scope:

Islanders -- While most prognosticators picked the Isles to finish at or near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they currently find themselves in a three-way tie for sixth place in the East with Philadelphia and Atlanta and have earned points in 14 of their first 20 games.

With Saturday's shootout loss, the Islanders earned at least a point in a third straight road game for the first time since Jan. 13-22, 2008.

"We showed resilience in getting that point," forward Kyle Okposo said. 

Bruins -- Boston is coming off a highly-frustrating loss, as it allowed Pittsburgh to erase a 5-4 deficit with just 0.4 seconds remaining in regulation en route to a 6-5 overtime defeat at Mellon Arena. Tim Thomas coughed up the puck behind his own net on the winning goal by Pascal Dupuis.

"I think we played a pretty good game and a couple of mistakes just cost us the extra point," Bruins forward Michael Ryder said. "We kept coming from behind all night and managed to get the lead there at the end. It was there for us, and when you're that close and lose one like that it's real frustrating."

Who's hot --
Islanders center John Tavares scored again on Saturday night, giving him three tallies in the past two games and eight on the season. Tavares leads all first-year players with 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists). … Derek Morris had a goal and an assist against the Pens to give him 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists). He's tied with Zdeno Chara for the team lead in points by a defenseman.

Injury report --
Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is still working his way back from knee and hip injuries that were suffered last season. Numerous reports have the franchise goaltender back in the next 2-4 weeks. Captain Doug Weight is out 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury and defenseman Radek Martinek (torn ACL) is out for the season. … Boston forwards Marc Savard (broken foot) and Milan Lucic (broken finger) are both out.

Stat pack -- Isles winger Trent Hunter has two goals in three games after missing 15 straight with an upper-body injury. … Ryder snapped a 10-game scoring drought on Saturday, while Blake Wheeler appeared in his 100th NHL game.

Puck drop -- No doubt, the Bruins are still steaming from Saturday night's loss, so the Islanders may have to weather the storm in the first period. One also has to wonder if the Isles still have that loss in Boston early in the season on their minds, when they were three goals ahead and less than seven minutes away from a victory.

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