Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
BROOKLYN – The New York Islanders were among the league’s hottest clubs entering December, but they endured a rocky final month of 2017 that was capped by a 6-1 drubbing at Colorado on New Year’s Eve. The Islanders hopes a return to home ice will reverse their sagging fortunes when they host the surging Boston Bruins on Tuesday.
Much of New York’s early-season success was fueled by dominance at home as it enters Tuesday’s matchup with a 12-3-3 record at Barclays Center. “Starting with myself, we have to look ourselves in the mirror and know we have a big week ahead where we have to challenge ourselves to be better,” Islanders captain John Tavares told reporters after the team was outscored 10-3 in a two-game trip to Winnipeg and Colorado. New York will need to raise its game against the Bruins, who are coming off a 5-0 romp in Ottawa and are on an eight-game point streak (6-0-2) that has carried them into second place in the Atlantic Division. “We’re feeling good. We’re taking it game by game,” Boston center David Krejci told reporters. “You don’t want to get too ahead of yourself. Just stay in the moment, focus on the next game, what happened today, enjoy tomorrow and come back at it.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet, NESN (Boston), MSG Plus (New York)
ABOUT THE BRUINS (21-10-6): Ryan Spooner played center during Krejci’s six-game injury absence, but moved to right wing upon Krejci’s return in Ottawa and promptly delivered a pair of goals, giving him seven points in seven games since returning from his own injury. “It is just a matter of his health, and now it seems to be he is getting through these games without any re-occurrences,” coach Bruce Cassidy told reporters. Forward David Backes, named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week, has four consecutive two-point games.
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (20-15-4): Slow starts have been a troublesome issue throughout the season for New York, which has surrendered the opening goal an NHL-high 25 times in 39 games and has allowed a league-worst 45 goals in the opening period. Josh Bailey accounted for the lone goal against the Avalanche, his seventh in the past eight games, and became the second NHL player to reach 50 points this season – six away from his career high. Bailey is riding an 11-game point streak with 12 assists in that span.
1. Bruins G Tuukka Rask is in the midst of a career-best, 11-game point streak (10-0-1).
2. New York has lost five straight and eight of nine at home to Boston.
3. The Bruins have won 15 of their last 20 (15-3-2), including a 3-1 win over the Islanders on Dec. 9.