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Visnovsky back in lineup as Islanders host Bruins

by Eric Goodman

BRUINS (32-15-3) at ISLANDERS (21-25-8)


Last 10: Boston 6-3-1; New York 6-3-1

Season series: This is the third and final game between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins. The Islanders will try for their first season sweep of the Bruins since the 2005-06 season.

Big story: Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky returns after missing over three months with a concussion. Goalie Evgeni Nabokov is also back, though he'll dress as backup to Kevin Poulin.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara spent his first four seasons with the Islanders and can earn his 500th NHL career point with a goal or assist Monday against his former team.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Boston was on the road for seven of its first 11 games in January and it started with consecutive losses at the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings. But the Bruins have bounced back from the slow start out west with a 3-0-1 road record, including a 1-0 win at the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 11, and will head back to TD Garden for a four-game homestand after the game Monday on Long Island.

Bruins forward Ryan Spooner skated in practice Sunday at Nassau Coliseum despite being sick with the flu, while Chara did not participate due to a maintenance day as decided by coach Claude Julien.

"He's a big man, needs some time off, not in his mind but in our minds, so every once in a while we force him to stay off," Julien said of the Bruins top defenseman following practice.

Islanders: With such a tight race for Stanley Cup Playoff positions in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders will need to make up for surrendering a 3-2 lead to the St. Louis Blues with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation on Saturday and eventually giving up the extra point in the shootout.

Islanders captain John Tavares, who assisted on the first goal of regulation, but was stopped in the shootout, put the 4-3 loss in perspective following the game.

"We had the lead with 20 seconds left and we didn’t get the job done," Tavares said. "That’s a big point we lost."

Who's hot: Bruins center David Krejci has one goal and five assists in his past four games. ... For the Islanders, Tavares is in the midst of a six-game point streak with two goals and six assists over that span.

Injury report: Bruins forward Chris Kelly (broken ankle), and defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (right knee surgery) and Adam McQuaid (lower body) are on injured reserve. Spooner (illness) is questionable. ... Visnovsky (concussion) and Nabokov (lower body) return, while defenseman Travis Hamonic (concussion) has not played since Jan. 12.

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