Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The New York Islanders will try to avoid a season-worst third consecutive defeat when they visit the Boston Bruins on Saturday night in the finale of a four-game road trip. New York is coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh that left head coach Doug Weight dealing with mixed emotions.
“It was a really good game, a really good point for us to get,” Weight said after watching his team erase a two-goal deficit in the third period. “And I’m still really (expletive) off about it.” A major reason for Weight’s ire is New York’s ineffiency on special teams, which has been burned for two power-play goals in each of the past four games. The resurgent Bruins beat up on their favorite punching bag Thursday, rolling to a 6-1 rout of Arizona for their 12 consecutive win against the Coyotes. Boston has followed a four-game slide with a 7-2-0 run, allowing a total of 10 goals in the seven victories.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus2 (New York), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (16-9-3): Not surprisingly, New York’s 30th-ranked penalty kill was the focal point at Friday’s practice after Pittsburgh converted on both chances with the man advantage — the sixth straight game in which the Islanders have yielded at least one power-play tally. “We’re together as a coaching staff and a team and we’re going to find a way to kill one off,” Weight said after Thursday’s game. “Sometimes you have to just learn it all over again.” Jordan Eberle scored his 12th goal Thursday — all coming in the past 18 games.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (13-9-4): If Boston needed any reason to see why David Backes served as a longtime captain in St. Louis, the veteran forward provided another example in his fourth game back from abdominal surgery that was expected to sideline him a month longer. Backes, in his second season with the Bruins, scored his first two goals of the season to ignite the win over Arizona. “He’s a commanding presence,” forward Brad Marchand said. “He’s stepped up all over the place – in the room, on the ice, and on the bench. He’s a big void when he’s not playing.”
1. New York won both matchups in Boston last season, outscoring the Bruins 8-2.
2. Bruins F David Pastrnak has four goals and four assists during a seven-game point streak.
3. Islanders F Mathew Barzal, who leads all rookies with 27 points, has assisted on eight of Eberle’s 12 tallies.