Bruins-Islanders Preview

The Associated Press

Keeping the puck out of their own net continues to be a problem for the New York Islanders.

It certainly has been in recent games against the Boston Bruins.

The Islanders overcame those defensive deficiencies for one game and will try to win two straight for the first time this season Saturday night against the visiting Bruins.

A determined effort by the Islanders on Friday at Ottawa resulted in a well-earned 5-4 shootout victory after they overcame a pair of two-goal deficits and outshot the Senators 57-31. It was the second win in six games for New York (5-5-3), which reached 50 shots for the first time since recording 60 on Oct. 25, 2008, against Carolina.

''I think what's important is that we got the 'W' and we got the 5-4 win," captain John Tavares said. "If it's the other way around and lose in the shootout and we had that many shots it can be a little frustrating, but this is something to build on and carry over to the next game.''

Frans Nielsen scored his team-leading eighth goal and was the only player to convert in the shootout. The Islanders allowed at least three goals for the sixth straight game and only Florida (46) has surrendered more in the Eastern Conference.

''We were resilient. When we play the way we know how to play we have success," coach Jack Capuano said. "Now we have to respond against a good Bruins team (Saturday) night."

Returning home to face the Bruins (8-4-0) represents another challenge for New York, which has been outscored 16-4 during a three-game home skid in the series. The Bruins are 16-4-1 in the last 21 meetings, scoring at least four goals five times in the past seven.

Tasked with reversing that trend will be Kevin Poulin, who is expected to be in net with games on back-to-back nights. Poulin, though, is 1-7-0 with a 3.31 goals-against average in his last eight starts dating to last season.

Thomas Vanek notched an assist Friday for his first point in two games since joining the Islanders, and may be the only member of the home team happy to see the Bruins. He had nine goals and 19 points in his last 13 meetings with Boston while with Buffalo.

Boston erased a pair of deficits in a 3-2 shootout victory over Anaheim on Thursday and avoided a third straight loss. Carl Soderberg scored his first NHL goal and Zdeno Chara netted the equalizer with 2:50 remaining in regulation as the Bruins won despite registering one shot in the first period.

''I think we have a lot of competitive guys and when you're down, that desperation level kicks in,'' said defenseman Torey Krug, who also had an assist. ''We've got to do a better job of starting games out.''

The Bruins have been a much better road team thus far, outscoring opponents 16-5 during a season-opening four-game win streak away from home before Wednesday's 3-2 loss at Pittsburgh.

Boston coach Claude Julien was undecided on his starting goaltender for this game even though Tuukka Rask got a day of rest Friday. Rask, who started the past four games, is 6-2-0 with a 2.23 GAA against the Islanders, while Chad Johnson won his only start of the season Oct. 23 at Buffalo.

It's unknown if the Bruins will have defenseman Johnny Boychuk available after he left Thursday's game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

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