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Islanders 3, Bruins 2

Rask injured as Bruins lose

Goaltender leaves in pain after fall

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By Fluto Shinzawa
Globe Staff / March 4, 2012
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Before 17,565 at TD Garden yesterday, the Bruins dropped a 3-2 decision to the Islanders. But their bigger loss was that of Tuukka Rask.

The last sight of Rask was the netminder, with helped from Joe Corvo and Greg Zanon, doing a one-legged skate off the ice. Rask put no pressure on his left leg.

Rask was injured at 9:01 of the second period. New York’s Matt Martin, skating down the right wing, snapped a shot on goal, and it deflected off Zanon.

As Rask tried to follow the deflection, he made an awkward move, then fell backward. He tossed his stick aside, threw off his blocker, and pointed at his left knee.

Rask, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee during the offseason, left the Garden on crutches. He did not travel with the team to New York for today’s game against the Rangers.

The Bruins will continue their road trip in Toronto on Tuesday, and Rask will not be available for that game, either.

Michael Hutchinson was recalled from Providence and will back up Tim Thomas at Madison Square Garden today. Anton Khudobin is Providence’s No. 1 goalie, but he is sidelined because of a wrist injury, according to the Providence Journal.

If the Bruins are without Rask for an extended stretch, it will mean a heavy workload for Thomas. Starting today, the Bruins will play every other day until March 20. They have a two-day break before starting their three-game California swing March 22 in San Jose.

They had hoped to give Thomas the rest he needed heading into the postseason.

“What can I say? It is what it is,’’ coach Claude Julien said. “You’re hoping to utilize your two goaltenders in this stretch. The next two weeks, it’s about four games per week. So we’ll have to make do someway.’’

The Bruins had questions regarding yesterday’s winning goal. After the Bruins won a defensive-zone faceoff, Johnny Boychuk rimmed the puck around the wall and into the New York end. Tyler Seguin raced after the puck to prevent an icing call, but before Seguin could touch the puck, New York’s Andrew MacDonald tracked it down in the corner. However, the linesman, Brad Kovachik, didn’t call icing.

“I didn’t touch it,’’ Seguin said. “Their guy touched it. We didn’t hear the linesman say anything. We all kind of stopped.’’

Seguin and Milan Lucic halted in the corner, awaiting the icing call. It never came.

The Islanders pulled away for an odd-man rush. Matt Moulson rushed the puck into the offensive zone, slammed on the brakes along the right-side half-boards, and ripped a shot on goal. John Tavares tipped Moulson’s shot past Thomas at 15:21 of the third, giving the Islanders a 3-2 lead.

“We make mistakes. They’re entitled to make mistakes, too, if they make a mistake,’’ Julien said of the officials. “But that puck still went by two of our guys. Take the blame. We’ve got to play to the whistle.

“Maybe it was icing. But we still could have handled it better than we did.

“It looked like MacDonald touched it. At the same time, it doesn’t excuse us from not playing it through. There was no whistle blown.’’

The stop-and-start Bruins have now failed to win consecutive games since Jan. 10 and 12. They have failed to gain any kind of traction for almost two months. They have fallen behind in games, then not had the necessary finish to overcome deficits.

In this latest setback, the Bruins had a handful of good looks. Zdeno Chara hit the post in the second period. Seguin and Brad Marchand had scoring chances that settled in the glove of Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

“Today, if you ask me, we were the better team out there,’’ Julien said. “We didn’t get the best result.

“Secondary scoring is not very apparent right now. We’re leaning on a lot of the same guys to score goals. If we can get some secondary scoring, I think it will solve a lot of the issues we have right now in winning hockey games.’’

The Islanders wiped out a 1-0 deficit when Josh Bailey scored in the first and Moulson beat Thomas in the second, making it 2-1 after 40 minutes.

Seguin tied the game at 7:29 of the third off a set faceoff play. David Krejci won a neutral-zone draw from Tavares and pulled the puck back to Chara. As Seguin broke for the net, Chara banked a pass off the right-side boards. Seguin collected the bank pass, hurtled in on goal, and slipped a backhander past Nabokov.

The Bruins never came closer. With 90 seconds remaining, Lucic snapped a shot on goal during a net-front scramble. But a down-and-out Nabokov got his right arm in front of Lucic’s shot.

Now, the first-place Rangers await.

“We’re going into our fourth game against a really good team - four games in six nights,’’ Julien said. “We’re going to be challenged again in all areas. We’ve just got to suck it up and battle through it.’’

Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at fshinzawa@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto.

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