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Islanders score 5 in 3rd, beat first-place Bruins 7-2

Anthony Beauvillier scored the tiebreaking goal in New York's five-goal third period and the Islanders beat the first-place Boston Bruins 7-2 on Thursday night.

Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist, and Adam Pelech, Jordan Eberle, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Anders Lee and Oliver Wahlstrom also scored to help the Islanders get their second straight win and improve to 6-0-1 at home. Semyon Varlamov stopped 34 shots.

New York, which got its highest scoring output of the season, beat Boston for the third time in three meetings — three of the Bruins' four regulation losses this season — to move one point behind Boston and Washington in the East.

New York Islanders right wing Oliver Wahlstrom celebrates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. The Islanders won 7-2. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Nick Ritchie and Craig Smith also scored for Boston, and Jaroslav Halak had 30 saves in his first game against the Islanders since leaving after the 2017-18 season.

Beauvillier put the Islanders ahead at 5:41 of the third. Halak stopped Beauvillier's initial shot, then swooped in and took the puck away from Trent Frederic in front and backhanded it past Halak.

Eberle made it 4-2 with 9:15 left, taking a pass from Barzal, going to his forehand to get Halak to go down before lifting the puck into the net.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) is congratulated by teammates after defeating the Boston Bruins 7-2 in an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Pageau scored on a short-handed breakaway with 7:36 remaining to give the Islanders a three-goal lead. Lee made it 6-2 with 5:16 left for his ninth, and Wahlstrom got his second with 3:27 to go.

Halak had not given up a goal in the third period in six starts this season.

Varlamov made a nice save on a backhand try by Jake DeBrusk on a breakaway 7:21 into the second to preserve New York's 2-1 lead.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) reacts after giving up a goal to New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

However, Smith tied it with 8:24 left in the second. On a Bruins rush, Smith sent the puck toward the net from the outside edge of the left circle with teammate Jack Studnicka charging toward the goal, but the it was deflected by the Islanders' Matt Martin up in the air and past Varlamov.

The Islanders were outshot 15-10 in the penalty-free opening period, but led 2-1 after 20 minutes.

Ritchie put the Bruins on the scoreboard 1:02 into the game. Taking advantage of an Islanders turnover, Ritchie deflected a pass by rookie defenseman Jakub Zboril past Varlamov for his seventh of the season.

Boston Bruins right wing Craig Smith (12) scores a goal in front of New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Pelech tied it at 3:16, putting the puck in from the left side on a rebound. Casey Cizikas' initial shot that was deflected by Martin in front. Halak stopped that attempt but the puck came right to Pelech, who got his first.

Barzal put the Islanders ahead with 7:21 left in the first period on a 2-on-1 with defenseman Nick Leddy for his seventh. Barzal had been held without a point the last four games after a career-high nine-game point streak. Leddy got his sixth assist in eight games, and Varlamov had his eighth career assist on the play.

INJURIES

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) reacts after scoring a goal in front of Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Zboril returned to the lineup after missing the last two games due to an injury. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said D Matt Grzelcyk skated in the morning but sat out against the Islanders. D Jeremy Lauzon is out four-to-six weeks with a broken hand. The Bruins were also without C David Krejci and D Kevan Miller.

Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck did not play after the first period due to an undisclosed injury. Clutterbuck saw only 3:07 of ice time in the opening period.

MILESTONES

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (29) battles for the puck with Boston Bruins right wing Craig Smith during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

Bruins RW David Pastrnak played in his 400th career regular season game.

Cizikas’ assist on Pelech’s first-period goal was the 100th of his career.

GETTING READY FOR FANS

The Islanders plan to begin allowing fans at the Nassau Coliseum starting March 18 against Philadelphia. Fans will be limited to 10% of full capacity, which is 13,917. The Islanders will have about 1,000 healthcare workers in attendance for the previous game, on March 11 against New Jersey.

Boston Bruins right wing Craig Smith (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

UP NEXT

Bruins: At New York Rangers on Friday night to open a two-game series.

Islanders: Host Pittsburgh on Saturday night to open a back-to-back two-game series.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (3) has the puck knocked away by Boston Bruins center Sean Kuraly during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov makes a save against the Boston Bruins during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)

New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (18) battles for the puck with Boston Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y. (AP PhotoAdam Hunger)