The Boston Bruins ended their three-game losing skid with a 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday night at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. Given the recent subpar performances by the Bruins, this game could have been a disaster if Boston didn’t respond. The Islanders had won their previous four games, including seven of their past 12, before the Bruins came into town.
Boston received goals from Blake Wheeler, Mark Recchi, Gregory Campbell, David Krejci, Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic. Bruins coach Claude Julien gave goaltender Tuukka Rask the nod in net and he made 34 saves to improve to 6-11-1.
THE REAL KREJCI NEEDED: When the Bruins announced on Feb. 7 that centerman Marc Savard would miss the remainder of the season due to a concussion, the playmaking focus shifted in David Krejci’s direction. Krejci said he was ready for the challenge, and Bruins coach Claude Julien said he was hoping Krejci would be ready, too. His goal against the Islanders was only his second tally since Dec. 28, a span of 24 games. He now has 9 goals and 32 assists for 41 points in 51 games this season.
RASK’S REALITY: While Tim Thomas (26-8-6) is the clear-cut No. 1 goalie for the Bruins this season, Tuukka Rask will need to produce when called upon down the stretch. He has struggled at times, but his record doesn’t completely reflect this play because there have been numerous games when he didn’t receive any support from his teammates. Rask saw that offensive support from the players in front of him Thursday, and he was solid on the back end.
KELLY, KELLY, KELLY: Bruins newcomer Chris Kelly will join the team Friday in Ottawa. The centerman, who was acquired from the Senators on Wednesday for Boston’s second-round pick in the 2011 draft, has been unable to don a black and gold sweater due to visa issues. He’s expected to be in the lineup against his former club. His arrival adds depth at the center position for Boston, and it’s likely he could be paired with wingers Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler. Since Kelly wasn’t able to join the Bruins against the Islanders, Tyler Seguin served as the middleman on that line Thursday.
HEARING SKATE STRIDES: With Kelly ready to make his Bruins debut Friday night against his former club, Tyler Seguin needs to find that next gear in his game. If he continues to struggle, Seguin could be watching more games from the press box as the schedule dwindles and the games become more important for the Bruins. The 19-year-old rookie took a step in the right direction on Thursday night. More often than not, he kept his legs moving against the Islanders and was giving that extra effort with his puck pursuit. At one point during the second period, the Bruins lost control of the puck as it began to trickle out of the offensive zone, but No. 19 dove and kept it in the zone. But, there’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially in the defensive zone.
RUMOR CENTRAL: With 10 days remaining before the Feb. 28 NHL trade deadline, the rumor mill is churning out of control. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli has made it no secret he’s in the market for a puck-moving defenseman, and the Toronto Maple Leafs' Tomas Kaberle tops the list of nine potential blueliners Boston’s GM is targeting. There were numerous reports Thursday that a deal between the teams was close, but Toronto GM Brian Burke dismissed those reports as false.
“It’s not true that the deal is done with Boston. None of that is true,” Burke said during an interview on NHL Live!
“If we found something that was attractive and went back to the agent, Tomas [Kaberle] might be receptive to that, but that’s far from clear or far from done,” added Burke during the interview.
UP NEXT: The Bruins’ six-game road trip continues with their second contest away from the Garden as they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators on Friday night at Scotiabank Place.