Fatigue may have contributed to both the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders settling for one point each in their last contests. After some much-needed downtime, the two teams face off Saturday at Boston looking to continue their push for a postseason berth.
Though the Islanders (37-20-8) had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 4-3 shootout loss at Toronto on Wednesday night, they still collected a point for the 10th time in 11 games and took five of six in a stretch of three games in four nights.
Nick Leddy had a goal and an assist for New York, which was 73 seconds from extending its winning streak before allowing a power-play goal that forced overtime. The Islanders are two points behind the New York Rangers for second in the Metropolitan Division but have two games in hand.
"Every point is so crucial, we saw how close it came for us to have home ice last year and I think that's something that weighs on our minds," Islanders captain John Tavares said. "We had a chance to seal the deal and we didn't."
Tavares moved one goal shy of becoming the 11th player in Islanders history to score 200. He has 10 goals and 12 assists in 23 games versus the Bruins, including three of each in his last three games at Boston.
Leddy has 18 points in his last 18 games and his 36 points lead all Islanders defensemen. He has three straight multipoint games and ended a 10-game goal drought with his second-period tally.
"It's a new NHL," coach Jack Capuano said of Leddy. "You have to be able to skate on the back end, you have to be able to activate and join the rush and contribute offensively."
Thomas Greiss, who had 33 saves Wednesday in his first start since the Islanders learned No. 1 goaltender Jaroslav Halak would likely miss the rest of the regular season with an upper-body injury, stopped 28 of 29 shots in a 2-0 loss to Boston last season while with Pittsburgh in his only appearance against the Bruins.
Boston (38-23-8) is locked in a three-way fight with Tampa Bay and Florida for the Atlantic Division lead and is coming off Thursday's 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina.
It was the fourth straight game decided in overtime for Boston, which split those contests. The Bruins barely saw the puck before Carolina's Phillip Di Giuseppe scored the winner 1:30 into the extra period.
"It's not what they did to us," coach Claude Julien told the team's official website. "It's what we didn't do ourselves…so let's chalk it up as a tough loss, but a good point, and let's move on here and prepare for Saturday (against the New York Islanders).
"If I was a betting man, I think our team's going to be much better on Saturday."
Patrice Bergeron has five goals and three assists in a six-game point streak. He also got the better of Tavares in Boston's most recent game against New York, getting a goal and an assist in a 2-1 road victory Nov. 8 while winning 9 of 12 faceoffs between the two.
The Bruins also won 5-3 at New York on Oct. 23 and have won four straight in the series.