The Bruins (7-6-1) endured a three-game losing streak against the iron of the NHL (Dallas, Washington and Montreal) last week but they were at least able to salvage something from a difficult road trip (1-2-0) with a 2-1 win at Barclays Center over the Islanders (7-5-3) on Sunday. The reward for Boston is that now they are off until Thursday (7 p.m., NESN) when they kick off a season-high five-game homestand at TD Garden by hosting the Colorado Avalanche (4-9-1). The B’s have the second-worst home record in the NHL (1-4-1). Only Columbus is worse (0-5-0) but expect that to change over the next couple weeks. The Bruins' next road game isn’t until Nov. 23 at Toronto (2-8-4).
In fact, the rest of November sets up really well for Boston as six of its eight remaining contests this month will be at the Garden. Additionally, the B's will only play two teams (Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers) during that time who have a better record than them. After the Avalanche, the Bruins host the Red Wings (7-6-1) on Saturday night (7 p.m., NESN), Joe Thornton and the Sharks (7-7-0) next Tuesday (7, NESN), Minnesota (8-3-2) likely without star center Zach Parise next Thursday (7, NESN) then the hapless Leafs a week from Saturday.
The Bruins have beaten the Islanders twice already this season, both times in Brooklyn. New York is a quality team and one, that like the B’s, should be in the playoff mix this spring in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s a great two points, especially after a tough road trip like we just had,” said center Patrice Bergeron about the Sunday win over New York. “It was important for us to show up this afternoon and bring out a solid effort: being composed and not just bringing a good start of the game but kind of sustaining that for the full 60 (minutes), no matter what was happening on the ice. I thought we did a good job of that.”
Goaltender Tuukka Rask (4-5-1) bounced back from consecutive losses with perhaps his best outing of the young season. His 36 saves were the most he’s had in 2015-16, the only Islander who was able to beat him was former Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk on the power-play. Rask’s comments postgame had to be music to head coach Claude Julien and Boston’s front office’s ears.
“I felt really good today," Rask said. "It's the best that I’ve felt in a long time, so hopefully I feel like that every game and see the puck like that.”
The Bruins are in fourth-place in the Atlantic Division, tied with fifth-place Detroit but only two points behind second-place Ottawa (7-4-3) and one point behind third-place Tampa Bay (7-7-2). Montreal (13-2-1) is 12 points ahead of Boston but as the B’s showed in their crushing 4-2 loss at the Bell Centre on Saturday, they can hang with the Canadiens.