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Islanders-Bruins Preview @NHLdotcom
Islanders-Bruins Preview

GAME: New York Islanders (21-25-3) at Boston Bruins (21-21-8).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Boston Bruins look to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games, and earn a point for the eighth straight contest when they host the New York Islanders.

The Bruins are 5-0-2 in their last seven games, but have lost both meetings against the Islanders this season - a 4-3 overtime defeat on Nov. 1 and a 5-2 loss on Nov. 12.

Since the latter defeat, which came during a 1-8-1 stretch for Boston, the Bruins have gone 6-3-3 at home and 13-8-3 overall following a major overhaul.

On Nov. 30, captain Joe Thornton was traded to San Jose for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. Thornton has flourished for the Sharks with eight goals and 33 points in 23 games, but the trio in Boston has combined for 23 goals and 43 points over that span.

"It takes time for players to become part of the team," Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell said after Boston's 3-2 win over Washington on Thursday. "When you lose your captain and three new players come in, everybody has to redefine their roles."

Sturm continued to produce by scoring the eventual game-winner in the third period against the Capitals, while rookie goaltender Tim Thomas made 32 saves in his seventh straight start. Thomas has allowed three goals or less in each of those outings.

Stuart, who assisted on Brad Boyes' 12th goal of the season in the first period, has enjoyed his time with Boston.

"We didn't have any expectations when we came here and just wanted to adjust to the new surroundings," he said. "But the last couple of weeks, we have settled in on the ice and in the dressing room, and our teammates are finding out what we bring as well."

New York snapped a three-game losing skid with a 4-3 shootout win over Pittsburgh on Thursday. Miroslav Satan scored in regulation and had the only goal in the shootout.

The Islanders led 3-1 entering the third period before Mark Recchi and John LeClair scored to tie it. LeClair knocked the puck out of midair and past backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz with just 27 seconds remaining.

"They got a lucky bounce, and that happens," said Satan, who has three goals and four assists in his last seven games. "We felt like we were supposed to win this game, so when they tied it up, we were able to stay mentally strong."

Satan has 18 goals and 15 assists in 43 games against the Bruins in his career, including three assists in the two previous meetings this season.

STANDINGS: Islanders - 45 points, 4th place, 23 PB, Atlantic Division. Bruins - 50 points, 4th place (tied), 22 PB, Northeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Islanders - Satan, 19 goals; Alexei Yashin, 26 assists and 43 points; Arron Asham, 88 PIM. Bruins - Sturm, 19 goals; Patrice Bergeron, 27 assists and 41 points; Hal Gill, 72 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 26): Islanders - Power play: 17.3 percent (50 for 289), 16th in NHL. Penalty killing: 79.6 percent (246 for 309), 27th. Bruins - Power play: 15.6 percent (42 for 270), 24th. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (258 for 308), 10th.

GOALTENDERS: Islanders - Rick DiPietro (15-15-3, 3.44 GAA); Dubielewicz (2-3-0, 2.90). Bruins - Thomas (5-0-2, 1.94); Andrew Raycroft (7-16-2, 3.68).

SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 12; Islanders, 5-2. At Uniondale, N.Y., Trent Hunter scored the go-ahead goal at 13:45 of the third period, and Asham added an insurance score 1:06 later.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Islanders - 10-13-2 on the road; Bruins - 10-9-4 at home.

Associated Press

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