ISLANDERS (0-0-2) at BRUINS (1-2-0)
Season series -- It's the first meeting of the season between the teams, with the Bruins playing Game 4 of a five-game homestand. The Bruins swept the season series in 2008-09, allowing only six goals, and have won the last six meetings.
Big Story -- After finishing first in the East last season, expectations were high in Boston this season -- especially with the Bruins playing their first five games at home. So far, those expectations have largely been unmet. Boston has lost two of its first three games -- both by three or more goals -- and is coming off a dreadful performance in a 6-1 loss to Anaheim that had coach Claude Julien upset with his team afterward.
He put his players through a strenuous workout on Friday and was only a little happier afterwards.
"I think we need to grab their attention right now," Julien told BostonBruins.com. "We are looking for commitment. We are looking for effort [and] attitude. I think all those things put together is what needs to happen in order for us to be the team we should be."
Islanders -- Two games into his NHL career, there's little doubt that John Tavares was ready for the League. Tavares, Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson have been by far the Isles' best line -- they accounted for both goals in Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss at Ottawa. What the Isles need most is help in their own zone -- the defense is still not nearly strong enough, and neither Dwayne Roloson nor Martin Biron played well enough to get the Islanders a win. Neither was dreadful, but Roloson lost to Pittsburgh in a shootout and Biron allowed a bad goal in regulation and was beaten on a stoppable shot by Ottawa's Mike Fisher in OT.
"We want more," Biron told Newsday. "Guys in here didn't get used to losing last year. Guys in here want to win."
Bruins -- There weren't many smiling faces at practice on Friday following the Duck debacle, a game in which the Bruins scored the first goal before allowing six in a row in the last two periods.
"The minute we had a little bit of adversity we fall behind instead of just sticking with your game plan," Julien said. "And all of a sudden you start to change, guys start to cheat, guys are looking to tie the game the next shift without doing the right things."
Don't be surprised if there are some lineup changes. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk and goalie Tuukka Rask are waiting in the wings. With games Thursday, Saturday and Monday, Rask could get his first start of the season against the Isles, who still don't score much.
Who's Hot -- Tavares' arrival figured to help the Islanders' power play -- and it has. New York has cashed in 3 of its 10 chances (30 percent) in two games. Moulson, a journeyman forward who's known Tavares since they were kids (Moulson's younger brother played with Tavares), is 1-2-3 and has played his way onto the Isles' top line.
Injury Report -- The Islanders are still without center Frans Nielsen (knee surgery) and goalie Rick DiPietro, who's still recovering from knee and hip surgeries and won't be back any time soon. The Bruins are healthy.
Stat Pack -- Both of Boston's losses in the new season have come by three or more goals. That's as many as they had all last season, when they were 17-2 in games decided by three or more goals.
Puck Drop -- Don't be surprised if Rask gets the call over Tim Thomas, especially with an afternoon game coming up on Monday. Tavares has given the Islanders a spark they didn't have last season, but they still don't score a lot, so this might be the perfect situation for Julien to give his backup some work -- and perhaps send a message to his team in the process.
-- John Kreiser, NHL.com Columnist