NEW YORK (AP) - The Boston Bruins badly needed a win and the scoring support came from unexpected source in Riley Nash.
Nash scored twice and backup goalie Anton Khudobin made 18 saves as the Bruins beat the New York Islanders 2-1 Saturday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
Nash broke a 1-1 tie with his second goal of the contest at 4:12 of the third period, beating Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss from the slot for his seventh goal of the season. Dominic Moore assisted on the decisive goal, which moved Boston two points ahead of the Islanders for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.
“That was quite the output for me,” said the 27-year-old Nash, who had five goals in 73 games coming in. “I’ll take it.”
The Bruins collectively could say the same, ending their skid and moving one point back of Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.
“It feels good to win again,” veteran forward David Backes said.
John Tavares scored for New York and Greiss finished with 16 saves for the Islanders.
Tavares had a golden chance to knot the score with just over six minutes left in the third period but rang the puck off the crossbar with the Islanders on their sixth power play of the game.
“It was a matter of inches,” Tavares said.
New York is now 0-3-1 on home ice since earning points in 11 straight (9-0-2), their longest such streak at home since 1982.
“It was a tight-checking, playoff-type game,” Islanders interim coach Doug Weight said. “It was muck it up type of game and somebody was going to win it with a goal. They got a break and scored in the third.”
Tavares opened the scoring at 10:05 of the first, rifling the puck past Khudobin after skating through and around the Boston defense. Tavares’ 28th goal this season tied the captain with Bob Nystrom for eighth place on the franchise lost with 235 goals.
Nash quickly answered, beating Greiss low on the stick side 36 seconds later. The unassisted goal brought loud cheers by many Bruins fans scattered throughout the sellout crowd of 15,795 at Barclays Center.
“That’s the type of win that goes a long way. It’s a nice building block for us,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said.
The Islanders outshot the Bruins 8-3 in the brisk first period.
The playoff-like pace continued throughout the second. Greiss made a number of acrobatic saves and also stopped Drew Stafford and David Krejci on point-blank chances with just under five minutes left.
The chippy play led to several skirmishes particular after Bruins forward David Pastrnak clobbered Islanders forward Stephan Gionta in front of the home team’s bench with about four minutes left in the period. Pastrnak received only a 2-minute roughing penalty.
It was the home team’s third power play of the second but they couldn’t convert against Khudobin, who started in place of starter Tuukka Rask.
“I loved his performance. He’s a battler,” Cassidy said of Khudobin, the 30-year-old netminder who won for the sixth time this season. “That’s what we needed tonight. He did his job. “
The Bruins had a 10-5 shots advantage in the middle period as the score remained tied at 1 heading for the third.
The Bruins had a goal waved off with 4:16 left in the first period when it was ruled that Backes made contact with Greiss.
“They make the call, you move on,” Cassidy said. “We got the job done.”
Tavares remained confident the final two weeks of the regular season was adequate time for the Islanders to forge a way to reach the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons. Five of their remaining eight games are on the road.
“We’re still right there,” he said. “There’s not much time left but still enough for us to get in. We’ll just keep battling to the end.”
NOTES: The Islanders won both road games this season against the Bruins, 4-2 on Dec. 20 and 4-0 on Jan. 16, which proved to be Jack Capuano’s last game as Islanders coach before was replaced by Doug Weight. … The Islanders are 2-10-0 in their last 12 home games against the Bruins, including 0-5-0 in the last five. … The Islanders entered the contest with consecutive road wins over the Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins. … The Bruins are 13-7-0 since Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien as coach on Feb. 7. The Islanders were without defenseman Johnny Boychuk for the 11th straight game.
Bruins: Host Nashville on Tuesday night.
Islanders: Host Nashville on Monday night.
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