The Boston Bruins failed to close the gap between them and leading New York Rangers on Saturday. They'll get another chance this afternoon as they visit the Blueshirts in a matinee between the top two seeds in the East.
While the Rangers were off on Saturday, the Bruins hosted the Islanders looking to make up some ground. Instead, they dropped a 3-2 decision to remain 10 points behind the Atlantic Division leaders and just three up on the second-place Senators in the Northeast Division. Boston does have three games in hand on Ottawa, which visits Florida on Sunday evening.
Tuukka Rask got the start versus the Islanders and stopped 11-of-12 shots before exiting in the second period with an apparent left leg injury. Tim Thomas came on in relief and made 11 saves on 13 shots to suffer the loss.
Already without Andrew Ference due to a lower-body injury, the Bruins also saw forward Daniel Paille exit with an undisclosed injury. Boston responded by recalling goaltender Michael Hutchinson and forward Lane MacDermid from Providence of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.
Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin tallied for Boston, which has lost five of its last eight games and is 10-11-2 over its last 23. Both Boston skaters tallied their 22nd goal of the season.
"Secondary scoring is not very apparent right now, leaning on a lot of the same guys to score goals. If we can get some secondary scoring I think it will solve a lot of the issues right now in winning hockey games," Boston head coach Claude Julien said.
The Rangers look to find the win column today after having a three-game winning streak snapped on Friday with a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Lightning. Marian Gaborik and Artem Anisimov staked New York to an early two-goal lead before Tampa Bay battled back. Brandon Dubinsky forced overtime on a tally with 3:27 remaining in regulation, but Henrik Lundqvist was beaten 1:58 into the extra session.
"This game was tough from start to finish," Lundqvist said after his 27-save performance. "Yeah we had the 2-0 lead, but I don't think we deserved the 2-0 lead. It felt like they made it tough for us all night."
New York, which fell to 26-0-3 when leading after two periods, played a second game in a row without Ryan Callahan because of a bruised right foot, while Michael Del Zotto missed his first due to a bruised hip.
It is unknown if Lundqvist will get the start today opposite of Thomas, but one of his league-leading eight shutouts on the year did come in the previous meeting with the Bruins. He made 42 stops in a 3-0 win on Feb. 14 at Boston.
New York has won four straight and eight of the last 10 versus Boston, including the first two encounters of this season. The Rangers have also won 10 of their last 12 at home against the Bruins.