(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins will try to end a three-game skid and also hope to take back first place in the Northeast Division when they visit the streaking New York Islanders tonight at Nassau Coliseum.
The Bruins have lost three straight contests -- all in regulation -- and are tied with Montreal for the top spot in the Northeast standings. The Canadiens play tonight in Edmonton.
Boston has struggled defensively recently, allowing 20 goals over its last four games. Despite the rough defensive patch, the Bruins are still ranked fourth in the NHL with just 2.35 goals surrendered per game.
The Islanders, meanwhile, enter tonight riding their first four-game winning streak since Jan. 9-18 of last season. New York last won five straight contests during a six-game tear from Feb. 12-21, 2008.
However, Boston figures to have a good shot at ending New York's current win streak, if the recent series' history between the clubs is any indication of how this evening's battle will go. The Bruins have taken nine of 11 overall in the series and Boston has also won four out of five at the Coliseum.
Boston notched a 5-2 home win over the Islanders on Dec. 9 in the only encounter so far this season. Tuukka Rask earned one of his five victories this season in that meeting.
Bruins No. 1 netminder Tim Thomas was dealt his second loss in as many starts when Boston was dealt its most recent setback, Tuesday's 4-3 regulation loss to visiting Toronto.
Mikhail Grabovski's second goal of the game came with 1:01 to play and helped lift the Maple Leafs to the close victory at TD Garden. Former Bruin Phil Kessel also had two goals in the win.
Gregory Campbell had a goal and an assist in the loss, while Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille also lit the lamp for the Bruins.
Thomas, who leads the NHL in goals-against average (2.02) and save percentage (.938), gave up four goals on 28 shots to Toronto, but he should get the start tonight. Thomas is 8-4-1 in 13 career games against the Isles.
After Tuesday's game, the Bruins acquired center Chris Kelly from Ottawa for Boston's second-round pick in the 2011 draft. Kelly had 12 goals and 23 points in 57 games for the Senators and is expected to make his Bruins debut this evening.
Boston is 16-7-4 as the visiting team this season and is beginning a six-game road trip tonight. The Bruins won't play their next game on home ice until March 3 against Tampa Bay.
The Islanders earned their most recent victory Tuesday night in Ottawa, as Frans Nielsen scored the game-winner in the second round of the shootout to lift New York to the 4-3 decision over the Senators at Scotiabank Place.
New York trailed the Sens, 2-1, after 40 minutes before Michael Grabner and Josh Bailey tallied early in the third period. However, Ottawa was able to push the game to overtime thanks to Erik Karlsson's goal with 4:04 left in regulation.
"We like our positive attitude," said Bailey. "Recently, we've been able to come back from third-period deficits, and that only makes us stronger and builds our confidence."
Making his fifth career start, Nathan Lawson made 28 saves to record his first NHL victory. He came into the game with an 0-3 mark. Lawson is expected to get the start again tonight.
The Islanders are kicking off a three-game homestand tonight. They are 10-13-4 as the host this season.