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Islanders' latest loss follows familiar script

The Boston Bruins celebrate a score by center

The Boston Bruins celebrate a score by center Ryan Spooner (51) against the Islanders during the first period on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015 at Barclays Center. Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Islanders played well enough to win. There weren't many good bounces. Tuukka Rask, the opposing goaltender, was solid.

Stop me if you've heard all this before.

The Islanders had some forceful moments at Barclays Center on Sunday, as they have at other times during the past two weeks. But those moments again added up to a defeat, a 2-1 loss to the Bruins that sent the Islanders off on a three-game California trip at 1-3-2 in their last six, with only nine goals in that span.

"We can say we played well, that we had some really good chances against a good goalie -- it's getting old and repetitive saying that," Travis Hamonic said. "We have to find a way to battle through. Our only choice is to keep working and get through it and get a couple more goals."

Johnny Boychuk's blast from the point with 6:42 to play during a two-man advantage was the Islanders' only goal despite 37 shots on Rask, who played one of his best games of the season after stumbling through the first month for Boston.

But the Bruins got a five-on-three goal of their own, by Ryan Spooner, in the first period and Patrice Bergeron's shot that deflected off Nick Leddy and past Jaroslav Halak at 14:13 of the second period.

That was enough to win it for Boston despite the fact that the Islanders carried the play at even strength and got themselves seven power plays -- something that should have been a huge factor in the game, given the Bruins' 30th-ranked penalty kill, which entered Sunday having killed off only 68.1 percent of its disadvantages.

Instead, the Islanders were tentative on the power play outside of the brief five-on-three they converted. They put only one shot on Rask during 8:23 of five-on-four time.

"You shoot pucks, you score goals," Jack Capuano said. "For whatever reason, we wanted to be on the perimeter. You're not going to win games like that."

Two days after Ryan Strome was demoted to Bridgeport, Capuano gave his lineup another jolt by sitting Josh Bailey as a healthy scratch. Taylor Beck, who had been up with the team but scratched the previous four games, made his Islanders debut and rang a shot off the crossbar late in the second.

John Tavares was terse after the game. Despite 10 shot attempts, he was held pointless for a fourth straight game, the last two since his return from a three-game absence because of illness.

"When you're not scoring, it's frustrating," he said. "You've got to work through it, that's all you can do."

The Islanders depart on Monday for San Jose, with games against the Sharks, Kings and Ducks in a four-day span. The Isles reached California last November at 6-4-0, won two of three out west and followed that up by winning 11 of their next 13 to make themselves a legitimate contending team.

Now, at 7-5-3, the Islanders again are in need of some soul-searching on the road.

"This is the same team everyone had confidence in last season, the same team everyone believed in two weeks ago," Hamonic said. "We can get it back. And we're the only ones who can do that."


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