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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bruins Finally Find A Way to Beat the Islanders This Season

For some strange reason, both times the Bruins played the Islanders this season, they walked away with two-goal losses. Thankfully, that bizarre hiccup was rectified by the B's (33-15-3) who won 6-3 over the Isles (21-26-8) tonight at Nassau Coliseum. The only other way these teams could meet again this season would be in the playoffs but it doesn't look like the Islanders will get there.

Brad Marchand is playing the best hockey of his NHL career, he added another goal and three assists for his sixth straight game with a point. His linemates weren't half bad either as Patrice Bergeron warmed up for Sochi with a goal and two assists while Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist, they also extended six-game point streaks of their own.

For the second game in a row, Boston scored six goals (tying its season high set on Saturday vs. Flyers). Perhaps the most important goal for the Bruins was the first one, scored by Loui Eriksson at 7:47 from an impossible angle. His sixth goal of the season snapped a 12-game goal-less streak and it was assisted by Daniel Paille and Torey Krug.

Good old Frans Nielsen tied it at 15:29 when he followed his own rebound and put it past Chad Johnson (34 saves). Marchand made it 2-1 Bruins thanks to some pretty passing from Bergeron and Smith at 4:50 and a perfect shot that he roofed over Kevin Poulin. It was his team-leading 17th goal of the season.

For a while, the Islanders kept responding as Michael Grabner finished a one-timer at 8:20 from Kyle Okposo and Thomas Hickey. Smith put Boston back on top with his 17th of the season at 12:21. Shawn Thornton and Marchand assisted on that tally.

Okposo knotted it at three following a 2-on-0 with Grabner, that's right folks: a 2-on-0 after Dougie Hamilton lost the puck at the end of the Bruins' power play. The B's closed it out with three goals in a row. Carl Soderberg put the Bruins up 4-3 with maybe the prettiest goal in his brief NHL career. He went around a defensemen and drove to the net but he couldn't be stopped. His seventh goal of the season was assisted by Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla.

Bergeron handed Boston its first two-goal lead (5-3) at 2:17 of the third period. Marchand did the dirty work (haha) by stealing the puck behind New York's goal then feeding Bergeron for his 14th goal of the season. You had to laugh when Zdeno Chara's weak wrist shot from the point trickled in for his 12th goal of the season. Poulin celebrated allowing Chara's 500th career point by getting yanked for washed up Evgeni Naokov.

Back-to-backs usually aren't much fun but the B's have extra motivation tomorrow as they host the Panthers (21-26-8) and Tim Thomas (14-14-3, 7th in Atlantic Division). Bruins-Panthers games are usually one-sided blowouts but seeing Tuukka Rask vs. Thomas is worth the price of admission.

UPDATE 1/28: The Bruins activated Chris Kelly from IR after he missed the last 22 games; Ryan Spooner and Zach Trotman were assigned to Providence.

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