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Islanders 5, Bruins 2 @NHL

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Trent Hunter's long drought appeared to end in the second period, that is until the official scorer took his goal away.

When he finally got another in the third by crashing into the net, he figured that one wouldn't count, either. Suddenly his fortunes took an upward turn.

Hunter scored the winning goal with 6:15 left and Arron Asham added an insurance score 1:06 later to give the New York Islanders a 5-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.

``It's been a while. I think I would've done anything,'' Hunter said. ``I would've used my teeth if I had to.''

Hunter, who had gone 12 games without a goal, outraced two Bruins to a rolling puck and knocked it in as he bowled over goalie Andrew Raycroft.

``I was just trying to get to the puck,'' he said. ``I just took a swipe at it and I was pretty excited when it went in. I thought with my luck they were going to wave it off because the net was off or something.''

Asham made it 4-2 when he backhanded in Alexei Yashin's rebound at 14:51, giving New York its third win in eight games.

Boston (7-7-5) dropped its second straight in regulation after earning points in nine straight games. The have lost three straight overall.

``It's a good thing we've got four days off now,'' Raycroft said. ``We can't keep saying we're close again, we're almost there - because we're not. We're trying to stay positive, but at the same time, we have to be accountable.''

Mike York scored his 100th NHL goal to get the Islanders in front in the first period, and Shawn Bates gave them another lead in the second. Bates added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

York had gone 11 games without a goal.

``It was good to get a win behind it,'' he said. ``It gets frustrating especially if you're not winning games. You feel like you're not contributing the way you want to.''

Dave Scatchard and Sergei Samsonov had goals to get Boston even twice but the Bruins had no answers in the third period. Shawn McEachern had two assists, and Raycroft made 26 saves in his second straight start after sitting out six games because of a hamstring injury.

``Some nights, we've deserved a better fate and haven't gotten it,'' Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. ``That's the frustrating part. But you are what you are, and right now, we're a .500 hockey team.''

Rick DiPietro, a Massachusetts native, made 29 saves after missing an earlier meeting with the Bruins because of a bruised knee.

The teams found themselves in a familiar position - tied - when Samsonov converted a well-executed backdoor play to square it at 2 just 2:54 into the third period.

New York beat Boston 4-3 in overtime 11 days earlier at Nassau Coliseum and the teams played to three draws in four games during the 2003-04 season.

Just like in the earlier meeting, the Islanders were unable to protect a lead in the third period but Hunter and Asham ended the suspense in regulation this time.

New York went ahead late in the second when Hunter fired a shot from in between the circles into traffic near the net. The puck appeared to be going wide when it struck Bates and Bruins forward Brad Isbister and caromed in. Bates, injured in the final 30 seconds of the first period while blocking a shot, was credited with his fourth goal and second in three games.

The goal was given to Hunter, a finalist for the 2003-04 rookie of the year award. He entered Saturday's game with only one goal after scoring 25 before the NHL lockout.

``I was hoping it was his,'' said Islanders coach Steve Stirling, who called Thursday's loss to Philadelphia Hunter's best game of the season. ``He found a way to get a dirty goal ... and I hope that gets them going.''

Scatchard, who left the Islanders as a free agent this summer, got the Bruins even at 1 with 2:33 left in the first on his fourth of the season and second straight against New York.

York gave the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 12:29 with New York's fourth power-play goal in three games.

Notes: Boston's point streak ended Thursday with a 5-2 home loss to Ottawa in Raycroft's return. ... Bates' first three goals this season were game-winners. His fourth was in line to be until Samsonov tied it. ... Isbister, formerly of the Islanders, returned to the Boston lineup after missing four games with a groin injury. The left wing sat out three contests earlier this season with the same injury before playing on Long Island on Nov. 1. He left in the second period of that game.

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