It wasn’t a pretty one the last time the Islanders and Bruins met. The wheels fell off the bus for the Islanders in the third period and they were beaten 6-2 in Boston a few weeks ago.
So, the two teams meet again at the NVMC. Hopefully, the boys have that loss in the back of their collective minds as they take the ice. Hockey players tend to have long memories, so I would expect that we see a different kind of effort tonight from the blue and orange. At least, it’s going to take a much different effort from them to skate away with a win tonight.
With Evgeni Nabokov placed on IR because of a groin strain, and Al Montoya also apparently out with a bad hamstring, Anders Nilsson was recalled from the Port. Rick DiPietro, ironically, is, in effect, the loan healthy goaltender out of the 3 who started the season with the team. Who would have expected that statement ever being written in September…..
So, Ricky will be starting tonight against the Bruins, and Nilsson will be his backup. It will be interesting to see if there are any other lineup changes as well. In particular, well, a slight alteration on the back line. The Isles can ill-afford the defense standing around or being beat flat out.
The Islanders also can’t afford a let down after their big win against the Canadians on Thursday. They cannot be victimized like the last time they played the Bruins and allow the speed of the forwards to tear the defense to shreds. They are going to need a strong, consistent effort from the blue liners, and the forwards are going to have to do their job helping out and applying back pressure when necessary. I believe Boston has won 7 in a row now, so they are coming in quite hot.
Nevertheless, as has been said many times, if the Islanders come to play and maintain a effort for a full game, they can beat the “better” teams in the league. It was simply hard luck that cost them the game against the Rangers, as that could have gone either way. So, it’s a matter of coming out with intensity and effort, and as Gary said in a previous article, keeping that first shot against them out of the net.
The top line of JT, Moulson and Grabner have continued to play well. Additionally, we saw a great effort from the fourth liners as well on Thursday. This team has the capability to score goals, and if all three lines start contributing, it will be enough to win games most nights. No matter who starts for the Bruins tonight, the Islanders will have to get shots on net, bodies in front and keep it up for 3 periods. Let’s get a lead early, but let’s also maintain that lead without making it …. interesting … in the end, boys!
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