The Boston Bruins are in danger of missing the playoffs for the second straight season. They also are in danger of losing five straight at home for the first time in nearly seven years.
Boston looks to end a pair of streaks Saturday night when it faces the New York Islanders for the third time this season.
With 29 games left in the regular season, time is getting short for the Bruins (24-25-4) to make a run at a playoff berth. Six losses in eight games has dropped Boston to 13th in the Eastern Conference, meaning it would need to pass five teams to reach the postseason.
There will be no playoffs for the Bruins unless they improve their play at home, where they have been outscored 17-4 while scoring one goal in 21 power-play opportunities during a four-game slide. They haven’t dropped five in a row on home ice since Feb. 12-March 6, 2000.
Boston also hasn’t fared well of late against the Islanders (26-22-7), who have won both meetings this season and six in a row in the series. New York has at least a point in 12 of the last 13 matchups, going 7-1-1 with four ties.
Ray Whitney scored three times in a 1:40 span of the second period and the Bruins never recovered Thursday in a 5-2 loss to visiting Carolina.
“There are a lot of teams between us and the eighth seed and Carolina is one we need to catch,” defenseman Brad Stuart said. “Maybe we’re trying to do too much, but we can’t afford to keep throwing away games.”
Brandon Bochenski was a bright spot for the Bruins, scoring his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Bochenski has three goals in two games since he was acquired from Chicago in a swap of minor leaguers on Feb. 3.
“I wanted to make a good impression,” Bochenski said. “I know I need to score goals to stick around here so that is what I am trying to do.”
Backup Hannu Toivonen has started and lost both games this season against the Islanders, and is 0-1-2 with a 3.80 goals-against average in three career games versus them. No 1 goaltender Tim Thomas is 0-2-0 with a 3.04 GAA against New York.
The Islanders had earned at least one point in a season-best eight straight games (5-0-3) before a 2-0 loss Thursday to Martin Brodeur and New Jersey.
The loss overshadowed an outstanding 35-save performance by Rick DiPietro, who was coming off a 2-0 shutout of Philadelphia on Wednesday.
“This is a tough time for us. We need all these points,” DiPietro said. “If you are a little tired and don’t feel you have your best game you have to play smarter, and that’s what Jersey does so well and so consistently.”
DiPietro, a Massachusetts native, has won four straight starts against the Bruins, including a 5-4 shootout victory at Boston on Jan. 11.
Despite their improved play of late, the Islanders still aren’t generating much from their power play, which is 2-for-27 over the last eight games. Part of that can be attributed to the absence of top center Alexei Yashin, who has missed the last five contests with a knee injury.