The NHL-best Boston Bruins are mostly staying home before the holidays, beginning a five-game homestand Tuesday night vs. the New York Islanders.
After going just 1-1-1 in a three-game stretch last week, the David Krejci-less Bruins adjusted their lines while dealing a win Sunday night in Vegas.
Goals from three different combinations, including two in the third period, equaled a 3-1 decision that kept the Bruins atop the NHL standings.
“We are very fortunate — we have a lot of guys who can play different positions,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “Some of our guys can play (both wings and center). That allows you to see who’s going and put those guys together and hopefully things happen — and it did tonight.”
Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle scored for Boston as it came from behind to avenge a last-minute loss at Arizona two nights earlier.
Krejci missed Sunday’s game with a lower-body injury, taking his 21 points for the season out of the lineup. Pavel Zacha skated at center in his place and set up DeBrusk’s winning goal.
“On lines like this, it’s trust from the coaches that I feel, and I’m just trying to do my best in whatever role I get on the team,” Zacha said.
The Bruins, who went 2-1-0 on their just-concluded road trip, have avoided consecutive losses all season. Their first home blemish was last Monday’s shootout loss to Vegas.
Linus Ullmark’s career year in goal continued with a 30-save effort. Part of a tandem with Jeremy Swayman, Ullmark is 16-1-0 and has allowed just 12 goals over an active nine-game win streak.
“Ullmark gives us a lot of confidence that we can play an aggressive-style game,” Montgomery said, referencing the goaltender’s second-period breakaway stop on the Golden Knights’ Ben Hutton, who had just exited the penalty box.
The Islanders will start a five-game trip having lost four of their past six games, including 3-0 Saturday to Metropolitan Division rival Carolina.
“We weren’t able to get to our game,” veteran forward Anders Lee said after the Isles were limited to a season-low 16 shots on goal and got shut out for the third time this season.
Brock Nelson had a career-long point streak of seven games before Saturday, logging five goals and three assists in that span.
“He’s moving his feet,” Islanders coach Lane Lambert said. “With his size, his skating ability is elite, and it’s deceptive. When he’s moving, he’s getting opportunities, creating opportunities.”
Nelson and Mathew Barzal have not been held without a point for two consecutive games this season.
Forwards Kyle Palmieri (upper-body injury) and Anthony Beauvillier (undisclosed) practiced Monday and will travel to Boston. Palmieri has been out since Nov. 21, while Beauvillier missed the most recent contest against Carolina.
Defenseman Adam Pelech (upper body) has not skated since being injured last Tuesday and will not play against the Bruins, though he could rejoin the team later on the trip.
“We’ll just have to wait and see how they make out, but they looked all right in practice (Monday),” Lambert said.
It is unknown whether another defenseman will need to be called up from the AHL.
–Field Level Media