The maddeningly inconsistent Islanders, who have alternated five to six good periods with five to six ugly ones the last two weeks, will get a chance to reverse their latest bout of passive play Tuesday night.
And with the Bruins visiting the Coliseum for a nationally televised game, they will know right away what sort of night they are in for.
Boston is 11-2-2, including 7-1-1 on the road, and boasts the best lineup in the Eastern Conference. Should the Islanders drift into the first period the way they have at the start of several games during the last couple of weeks, it will be a bad night very quickly.
Jack Capuano gave his players a rare public dressing-down after Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Hurricanes, calling them out for not having enough life in the dressing room before the game.
"You could see it," he said, even after the Islanders took a 2-0 lead deep into the second period. He followed up with another barb: "If guys want to play individualistic, go play golf or tennis."
Evgeni Nabokov will be back in goal for the Islanders and Capuano likely will find room for David Ullstrom, who has been a healthy scratch the past four games. He also might look to jumble his middle two lines.
John Tavares' line and Casey Cizikas' grind line have been the most consistent forward trios, so Capuano might try to put the Josh Bailey-Frans Nielsen-Kyle Okposo line back together to generate some sort of secondary offense behind Tavares (13 goals, tied for the league lead with Steven Stamkos) and Matt Moulson (10 goals, tied for seventh), who have 23 of the Islanders' 56 goals.