Same teams, different venue, very different result.
Facing the New York Islanders in the second of back-to-back games, the Bruins carved out a 2-1 victory on Glen Murray's second goal of the night at 2:25 of overtime last night at the FleetCenter.
Murray's heads-up play led to the winner. He stole the puck from Islanders center Jason Blake at the New York blue line and skated in on goalie Rick DiPietro, beating him with a backhander between the pads for his 17th goal of the year and 500th career NHL point. It was a more satisfying finish than Tuesday's deadlock, which was the Bruins' 11th of the year.
"Obviously, we're thrilled to get a win at home," said coach Mike Sullivan. "The Islanders played well as a team and really make you work for your scoring chances. It was a hard-fought game so, obviously, we're excited to get the two points as opposed to one."
The club's goal now is to keep the teams below them right where they are. To do that, the Bruins need Murray -- who tends to be streaky -- to do what he does best, put the puck in the net. From the end of December through the middle of this month, he struggled to do that. Now, he appears back on track.
"I know that, goal-wise, he's not happy with the way the year's going," said veteran defenseman Sean O'Donnell. "But he's been plugging along and trying hard and I wouldn't doubt one bit if this started a 10-goals-in-eight-games [run] because that's how he is."
O'Donnell said the team has been trying to help keep Murray from worrying too much about his production.
"We're trying to help him out, to loosen him up," he said. "He's a pretty laid-back guy, but at the same time, he does put a lot of pressure on himself. He knows that goal-wise, he's the guy. He's coming off back-to-back 40-goal seasons. Suddenly, now, I think he's getting the best defensive pairing all the time and a little more attention and they're making it tougher on him."
Last night was a much better effort by the Bruins, who have been plagued by slow starts lately. They also have had trouble winning -- and scoring -- at home all season, so this one was a welcome change.
Defenseman Jiri Slegr, who has provided an offensive presence in the six games he's played since joining Boston from Vancouver, set up the Bruins' first tally during a first-period power play with a slap shot from the left point. Murray chipped in a backhander on the rebound at 16:44.
The Bruins had plenty of strong bids during their 38-shot barrage, but DiPietro saw the majority of them.
It took a shorthanded goal for the Islanders to get back into this one in the second period. The Bruins were awarded their fourth power play of the night at 8:40 of the period when Mattias Weinhandl was whistled off for hooking. With 39 seconds left on the man advantage, Islanders left wing Oleg Kvasha got the puck and fired a shot from the left circle that deflected off a leg and past goalie Andrew Raycroft for the tying tally at 10:01. It was the 10th shorthanded goal the Bruins have given up this season.
The third period was scoreless, with the Bruins outshooting the Islanders, 11-8.
Although the extra hockey might be harrowing for clubs, especially the coaching staff, Sullivan said he believes the tightness of the games might pay dividends down the road.
"We've played a fair amount of games in overtime," said Sullivan, whose team has played the extra session in 19 of 52 games, earning a record of 4-4-11.
"I'm hopeful that the experience of playing all these games -- these overtime games and one-goal games -- will certainly benefit us down the stretch because it's playoff-type hockey. You really have to be responsible at both ends of the rink and that's the type of hockey that's played down the stretch."