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Preview: Bruins look to bounce back against the Islanders

Another New York minute.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7:30 PM

Where: UBS Arena - Elmont, NY

How to follow: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Lighthouse Hockey

Know your enemy

  • 17-20-6, 40 points, 6th in the Metropolitan Division
  • Mathew Barzal: 11G-20A-31PTS; Brock Nelson: 15G-8A-23PTS; Josh Bailey: 3G-18A-21PTS
  • Ilya Sorokin: 14-11-5, 2.51 GAA, .919 save percentage

Game notes

  • The Islanders come into tonight’s game having lost three in a row and four of their last five. They dropped a 6-3 decision to the Sabres on Tuesday night.
  • The Bruins and Islanders last played each other on December 16, a 3-1 Islanders win at UBS Arena. That ended up being the Bruins’ last game before their extended COVID-induced shutdown. As you may remember, the Bruins were quite shorthanded heading into that game, with many wondering why the game was being played at all.
  • Speaking of shorthanded, the Isles are down a goalie right now, with Semyon Varlamov stuck in Canada due to COVID-19 protocols. They recalled Cory Schneider as cover, with Varlamov remaining in Canada through the weekend after a positive test.
  • Things really haven’t gone well for the Isles this season, especially when you look at the decent run they had last year. A couple of weeks ago, they were at least somewhat in the Bruins’ rearview mirror in the chase for a wild card spot; heading into tonight’s game, they’re 18 points behind the Bruins, with just four games in hand.
  • The rough run for the Isles has our friends wondering aloud when the Isles are going to start selling. Players they think will be on the block include Varlamov, Scott Mayfield, and Josh Bailey, among others.
  • On defense, the Islanders aren’t terrible - in fact, their 2.77 GA/G mark is the same as the Bruins. However, surprisingly for a team with some decent firepower, the Islanders have the league’s fourth-least productive offense at just 2.42 goals per game.
  • Their power play potency has also dried up, with the Isles sporting the league’s 22nd-ranked man advantage.
  • The B’s revealed some good news on Wednesday, noting that Patrice Bergeron didn’t end up suffering a concussion against the Penguins; instead, he missed time due to a cut on his head that needed healing. Bergeron is expected to play tonight.
  • Linus Ullmark will start in net tonight. Bruce Cassidy also noted that Urho Vaakanainen may draw back in, though it remains to be seen where he fits.

See ya tonight!