Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 9th 2023

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Even as line combinations change, things have continued to go well for the Boston Bruins.

The Eastern Conference’s best team at 10-1-1, Boston bounced back from its first regulation loss with a Monday win at Dallas. The Bruins now await Thursday night’s visit from the New York Islanders.

The 3-2 win over the Stars was memorable, featuring first career goals from forward John Beecher and defenseman Mason Lohrei before captain Brad Marchand netted the eventual game-winner in the third period.

“Really takes the monkey off your back and allows you to feel good,” Marchand said. “Great to see them both get that first one — one you’ll always remember. Way down the line, that will be one of their favorite memories.”

The 22-year-old products of Michigan and Ohio State, respectively, have been used even more with forwards Milan Lucic and Jakub Lauko and defensemen Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort all unavailable recently.

Though Lohrei was caught flat-footed in coverage on the first Dallas goal, both rookies delivered positive moments and been given quality ice time.

“I think it’s all part of the learning curve,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said. “We don’t want to take away from a young man’s ability to make plays. Just like (Matt) Poitras against Florida (on Oct. 30), there was a turnover against (Aleksander) Barkov. You give them a chance to go right back out there. You talk about it, but it’s a teaching moment.”

Thursday is set as the fourth and final game of McAvoy’s NHL-levied suspension for an illegal check to the head, though the Bruins are awaiting a decision on an appeal.

Forward Morgan Geekie (upper body) also is ailing and has joined teammates on the list of those injured, while designated as week-to-week. Only Forbort (lower-body) is even questionable to return Thursday.

After Jeremy Swayman’s impressive 35-save effort at Dallas, the Bruins expect to go back to Linus Ullmark in goal.

“Right now, we’re committed to the rotation,” Montgomery said.

The Islanders have gone just 1-1-2 since banking back-to-back wins twice within their first seven games. Tuesday’s 4-2 home loss to the Minnesota Wild was their first regulation setback since Oct. 24.

The lone win during the current run was Semyon Varlamov’s 32-save effort in a 3-0 shutout victory in Washington last Thursday.

“It’s just those little things that are costing us right now, and we need to fix that,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said. “We need to be better, but we have a veteran group in here and we know that we’ll bounce back from this.”

Maine native Oliver Wahlstrom, who was a healthy scratch for two games before aligning with captain Anders Lee and Mathew Barzal against the Wild, scored his first goal, took four shots and blocked two.

Noah Dobson also scored a goal, but the Isles were shut out in the third period and now have a minus-5 goal differential (7-2) in the final frame over their last four games.

On the whole, coach Lane Lambert believes his team needs to re-establish its identity.

“I think at times we are and then I think at times we get away from it … but the consistency of the identity has not been there for me. Not yet,” Lambert said. “It hasn’t necessarily been a big issue up until now, but you know, everybody has to look in the mirror and we stick together.”

Prior to Tuesday, the Oct. 14 opener was the Isles’ last game with a fully healthy top six on defense. Adam Pelech (lower body) returned after being sidelined Saturday against Carolina.

–Field Level Media

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