BOSTON -- What was supposed to be a game about New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk returning to play against his former team, the Boston Bruins, at TD Garden on Thursday was overshadowed by an injury to Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Forward Cal Clutterbuck scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period, and goaltender Chad Johnson stopped 30 of 32 shots for the Islanders in a 3-2 win.
Forwards Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen scored for the Islanders (5-2-0), who ended a two-game losing streak.
"It's just one of those things that we had a discussion about. We don't want to lose two in a row and we ended up losing two in a row," Clutterbuck said. "It was important for us to get back on the right track and dig in here, come out with a good effort. We were happy here with 50-plus minutes of the game, and on Tuesday we ended up getting the short end of the stick on that one (a 5-2 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs). But we've got to keep working. It's a long season. Sometimes you win some that you shouldn't, and you lose some that you shouldn't, so those things balance themselves out."
The loss was the least of the Bruins' worries, because Chara left with an undisclosed injury with 8:12 remaining in the first period.
"Well, when you lose your captain and one of your better defenseman, there's no doubt it's going to have an effect on your team," said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who had no update on Chara's condition after the game. "But again, we showed in the third that we're able to handle it. So that's my perspective on it. You're going to lose guys during the season, those things happen. How you react to it and how you respond is what's important."
Boychuk was plus-1 in 23:18 of ice time and received several ovations from the crowd plus a video tribute.
"It was an interesting night. You're playing against that team, and you grew up with them, playing for the last six years, you see them and you're the opposition now," Boychuk said. "[Bruins forward Milan Lucic] steamrolled me, so I'll get a nice chuckle out of that when I see him.
"They're a good team. We came in here, we were determined, and we held them off in the last five minutes. They had some good chances, but the other ex-Bruin (Johnson) made some great saves for us and kept us in the game when we needed it."
Forwards Chris Kelly and Lucic scored for the Bruins (4-5-0); goaltender Niklas Svedberg made 35 saves. Behind 3-1 to start the third period, the Bruins outshot the Islanders 15-11.
"We didn't play 60 minutes. Maybe 20 minutes," Kelly said. "But that's not good enough to win hockey games, so that's the results we're going to get."
With Chara out of the game, the Islanders took the play to the Bruins. New York outshot Boston 12-6 in the second period and broke a 1-1 tie with two goals.
Okposo batted a rebound of a Brian Strait shot out of the air past Svedberg for a 2-1 lead 1:30 into the period. Clutterbuck beat Svedberg with a high shot from the slot after a backhand feed to the front from Matt Martin for a 3-1 lead at 9:27.
"I thought that the first two periods were really good," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "We had the surge, we had the momentum, we were doing a lot of good things. We knew they were going to make a push, and they made a real good push. They've got a big team and they handled us down low, but our goalie came up big for us when he had to."
The only bad news for the Islanders in the second period was that forward Josh Bailey left with a hand injury and did not return.
The Bruins made it 3-2 at 9:49 of the third period when Kelly scored on a rebound of a Carl Soderberg shot.
Early in the first period, the Bruins had several opportunities during a power play but failed to score. After the penalty kill, the Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 6:21 on a goal by Nielsen, who scored on a tap-in from behind Svedberg after Bailey's pass deflected off the skate of Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton.
Svedberg's shutout streak spanning three games ended at 78:41.
The Bruins tied it 1-1 with 1:39 remaining in the period on a goal by Lucic. Seth Griffith's pass to the front was on edge and deflected off both of Lucic's skates before eluding Johnson.
Boston visits the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, when the Islanders will be home to play the Dallas Stars.