BOSTON — Just when the New York Islanders showed some life with a late flurry, the Boston Bruins pushed them back and handed them yet another loss.
Milan Lucic scored two goals and Tuukka Rask made 33 saves to lift the Bruins to a 5-2 victory over the lowly Islanders on Thursday night.
“I am taking advantage of my opportunities right now, and it’s also nice to have a little luck,” Lucic said. “It’s a credit to my linemates. They are finding me when I am open.”
Lucic leads the team in goals with 15, easily topping last season’s total of nine.
Boston extended the Islanders’ futility to 1-15-3 in their past 19 games. New York, which has lost 11 straight road games, hasn’t won since beating New Jersey at home on Nov. 26.
The Islanders (5-16-5) are last in the NHL with 15 points.
“Finding a way to get up for these games is more challenging than you think, especially emotionally,” Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara said. “Give New York credit though. They played hard and battled back in the second.”
Rask won for only the second time this season (2-6-1). Boston is 4-0-1 in its last five.
Brad Marchand scored a short-handed goal with 5:20 remaining in the second period for a 2-1 lead. Michael Ryder scored one of two power-play goals for Boston at 14:16 of the third period for a 3-1 lead before Rob Schremp narrowed the Bruins’ lead to 3-2 with 3:33 remaining.
Frans Nielsen had tied it 1-1 for the Islanders in the second period after he was awarded a penalty shot while New York was short-handed. He was tripped by Patrice Bergeron during a breakaway.
“Any time a team scores against us short-handed, it’s a real kick in the butt. We want to make sure we do the same to them,” Marchand said.
Lucic and Bergeron added empty-net goals in the final 1:03 to cap the scoring.
Marchand put the Bruins ahead 2-1 when he blocked a clearing attempt by Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, who was well out of the crease, and slid the puck into an open net.
“We really battled hard and competed hard,” New York’s second-year forward John Tavares said. “This game was a tough one to swallow.”
DiPietro made 32 saves for the Islanders, who were 0 for 3 on the power play. New York has failed in 39 straight advantages over 12 games.
“The frustration builds when you lose, period,” DiPietro said. “It doesn’t matter how close or how. One goal, 10 goals — a loss is a loss.”
Lucic’s fifth goal in five games, a power-play tally, put Boston ahead 1-0 with 6 minutes left in the first. Marc Savard earned an assist for his first point of the season in his fourth game.
The Islanders have scored two goals or fewer in 15 of 17 games.
Notes: Boston recalled Steven Kampfer from AHL Providence to replace defenseman Mark Stuart, who is out four to six weeks because of a broken finger. … The Islanders entered the game 18 points behind the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. … Boston improved to 9-1-1 in its last 11 against New York. … Islanders D Radek Martinek left the game in the first period after blocking Zdeno Chara’s slap shot, but returned. Tavares was knocked out of the game by another slap shot by Chara with eight minutes remaining.
Flyers 4, Maple Leafs 1
TORONTO — Danny Briere scored twice and the Philadelphia cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs after building a three-goal lead on Thursday night.
Briere scored Philadelphia’s final two goals to give him a team-leading 16 this season. Ville Leino and Chris Pronger also scored for Philadelphia (18-7-5). Ville Leino and Chris Pronger put the Flyers (18-7-5) ahead 2-0 in the first period.
Brian Boucher made 31 saves in the victory.
Mikhail Grabovski scored his third goal in three games, but the Maple Leafs (10-14-4) fell behind by three goals for the third consecutive game and second straight night. Toronto has trailed 1-0 in five straight games.
The Maple Leafs failed to respond to frustrated coach Ron Wilson, who blasted his players for their effort following a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The return of Toronto captain Dion Phaneuf didn’t have much impact, but the defenseman forced a turnover and earned an assist on Grabovski’s goal.
Panthers 3, Capitals 0
WASHINGTON — Tomas Vokoun stopped 36 shots in his third shutout of the season, and the Florida Panthers ended a six-game losing streak against the Washington Capitals with a 3-0 victory Thursday night.
Michael Frolik, Steve Bernier and Mike Santorelli scored for the Panthers, who have won a season-high three straight. Florida went 0-6 against Washington last season.
The Capitals went 0 for 8 on the power play and lost their fourth in a row — the last three at home. The last time Washington lost four straight was Oct. 6-12, 2009.
In this one, Vokoun was just too good. The 34-year-old veteran didn’t allow many rebounds, and when he did, he was there to stop the shot. He has 19 shutouts with the Panthers and 41 overall in 13 NHL seasons.
The Panthers went up 1-0 when Frolik tapped a rebound past Semyon Varlamov with 1 second left in the second period. Varlamov had already stopped two attempts before Frolik got his stick in the crease and lifted the puck over the fallen goalie.
Minutes earlier, Varlamov turned aside several fine shots with Florida enjoying a two-man advantage.
Bernier made it 2-0 at 8:10 of the third period. After shots by Dmitry Kulikov and Stephen Weiss sent Varlamov to the right side of the net, Bernier scored into an open net.
Santorelli’s goal, with 2:34 left, snapped a 2-for-53 drought for the Panthers on the power play.
At game’s end, those who remained in the sellout crowd jeered the home team.
Washington received five power plays in the first period and outshot the Panthers 18-6, but Vokoun was flawless behind a defense that was short-handed for more than seven minutes.
The Capitals managed only two shots during a 5-on-3 power play that lasted 1 minute, 53 seconds.
Varlamov received his biggest test while Florida was short-handed. He zipped to his left to block a shot by Bernier, then kicked away the follow-shot by Weiss while flat on his back.
Notes: The Capitals have allowed only one first-period goal in eight games. … Vokoun is 8-12-1 against Washington.