NY Islanders at Boston Bruins
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Although the Boston Bruins have been besieged by injuries this season, the team has gotten healthy at the expense of the New York Islanders of late. After outscoring the Islanders 13-4 during a three-game season sweep in 2017-18, the Bruins bid for their fifth straight win in the series on Thursday when the teams reconvene at TD Garden.
David Pastrnak scored twice in the second period of Boston’s 4-2 setback in Toronto on Monday, but the 22-year-old Czech has struggled without star linemate Patrice Bergeron (rib, shoulder) — with coach Bruce Cassidy replacing Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson with fellow rookie Colby Cave on the top line in that contest. Brad Marchand, the other member of the top line, notched two assists versus the Maple Leafs after mustering just one point in his previous six games. New York forward Valtteri Filppula has found his offensive game by scoring in his second straight contest during Monday’s 4-1 setback to Washington, raising his point total to eight (two goals, six assists) in his last seven outings. “I’m just happy to see the puck go in,” said the 34-year-old Finn, who has seven goals in 23 games after scoring 11 in 81 with Philadelphia last season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet1, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, MSG-Plus (New York), NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE ISLANDERS (12-9-2): Sidelined since Nov. 13 with a lower-body ailment, Casey Cizikas was thrilled to hear that he would be activated off injured reserve and participate in Wednesday’s practice. “I’m excited just to be out there with the guys right now. We worked hard these past couple of weeks, our trainers did a great job of getting me ready and making sure I’m good to go,” said the 27-year-old Cizikas, who leads the team’s centermen by winning 56.6 percent of the faceoffs. Josh Bailey (team-leading 21 points) has been held off the scoresheet in four of his last five outings to reside at 398 points in his career, although he set up two of New York’s four goals versus Boston last season.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (13-7-4): While Brandon Carlo (shoulder) is expected to end an eight-game absence on Thursday, Boston’s pronounced injury list added yet another name as the team announced that fellow defenseman Kevan Miller is expected to be sidelined five weeks after a CT scan revealed cartilage damage to his larynx. “He plays his heart out. That’s two blocked shots that have put him out. We’ll miss him,” Cassidy said of the 31-year-old Miller. Forward Ryan Donato was recalled on Wednesday from Providence of the American Hockey League — the former Hobey Baker Award finalist has nine points (five goals, four assists) in 10 games in the minors while scoring once in 11 appearances with Boston.
1. New York G Thomas Greiss owns a 2-3-0 career mark versus Boston despite posting a slim 1.63 goals-against average and .950 save percentage.
2. The Bruins will retire Rick Middleton’s No. 16 and raise the banner to the rafters at TD Garden prior to Thursday’s game.
3. The Islanders have failed to convert on their last 11 power-play opportunities to fall to 4-for-40 in November.