Boston, MA – Josh Bailey netted a pair of goals to back a 30- save effort from Evgeni Nabokov, and the New York Islanders continued their late-season success with a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Mark Streit assisted on both of Bailey's tallies in the win, New York's third in a row and eighth in its last 10 games as it strengthened its case for the franchise's first playoff appearance since the 2006-07 campaign.
"Our team is playing hard," Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said. "You get rewarded when you play hard and play within the team concept. We gave up the one power play goal where we were running around, but the effort is there every night."
The verdict also prevented the Bruins from clinching a postseason berth, with Boston having needed to win outright or force overtime to do so, and dropped the club into second place in the Northeast Division after Montreal defeated Buffalo Thursday night.
Playing without two of their top scorers in Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron due to concussions, the Bruins managed only Tyler Seguin's power-play goal early in the second period and had a two-game win streak snapped. Tuukka Rask finished with 34 saves in defeat.
"We're doing our best to find chemistry, realizing that when they come back, we're going to be a better team," Bruins center Gregory Campbell said afterward.
The Islanders were outshot by a 16-9 count in the opening period, but still took a 1-0 edge into the first intermission behind some outstanding work from Nabokov and Bailey's goal during the waning stages of the stanza.
Four of Nabokov's stops came in rapid-fire succession from point-blank range around the 9 1/2-minute mark, and Bailey ripped off a perfectly placed blast in transition that found the upper right corner of the Boston net from 45 feet out with just 20.5 seconds left on the clock.
New York picked up the pace in the second period, putting up 19 shots to Boston's eight, but the Bruins netted the initial goal of the session by capitalizing on an early delay of game penalty to the Isles' Brad Boyes.
Boston worked the puck to Campbell stationed to right of the New York cage, with the center placing a cross-ice feed on Seguin's stick for a successful one-timer from the left circle that knotted the score 3:41 into the frame.
Rask came up with an athletic diving stop of Matt Moulson from in close midway through the period, but couldn't prevent Bailey's wrister with 6:48 remaining from trickling across the line and putting the Islanders back in front.
Moulson again came up empty on a potential game-sealing opportunity by fanning on a 2-on-1 rush with around four minutes left to play, but Nabokov made two more key saves down the stretch and the Islanders crowded the crease to disallow a shot on goal after Rask was pulled with 1:23 to go.
"The guys were doing their jobs," Nabokov said. "The battle level was unbelievable. Guys are sacrificing the body and playing well. It always takes 20 guys to win a hockey game."
Bailey produced his fifth career multi-goal game and first since a five-point performance (2 goals, 3 assists) against Pittsburgh on March 29, 2012 ... Marchand, Boston's leader with 16 goals this season, suffered his concussion on an illegal hit by New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Devils ... Defenseman Adam McQuaid returned to the Bruins' lineup following an 11-game absence caused by a strained left shoulder he suffered on March 19, with rookie blueliner Dougie Hamilton a healthy scratch for the first time this season to make room ... The Islanders improved to 15-3-3 when scoring the game's first goal ... Prior to Seguin's score, New York had gone 11-of-11 on the penalty kill over its previous six tests.