The Islanders didn't lose this one in the first 20 minutes the way they did in the first period in Atlanta two nights earlier, when they allowed four goals. But getting outshot 16-4 and falling behind by a goal after one period Saturday didn't help.
The Islanders rallied with 35 shots and two goals against the Bruins' Tim Thomas in the second and third periods at Nassau Coliseum, but it wasn't enough.
The Islanders' 3-2 regulation loss left them six points out of eighth place in the East entering last night's games.
"Boston's in the same situation as we are, and they're playing with urgency," coach Scott Gordon said after the Islanders' second straight loss since Wednesday's trading deadline. "We didn't match it."
Not until they were down 1-0 on the scoreboard and 16-4 in shots. The Islanders had 22 second-period shots, plus 3:54 of a five-minute power play when the Bruins' Michael Ryder was ejected for a hit from behind that sent Blake Comeau to the dressing room with facial lacerations. But all they managed was a power-play goal by Josh Bailey 2:18 into the second to tie it.
That tie was erased 2:46 later when the Bruins executed a tic-tac-toe passing play while the Isles' forward line of Doug Weight, Richard Park and Jon Sim was unable to get into the play off a line change. David Krejci tapped the puck past Dwayne Roloson for a 2-1 Boston lead.
That became 3-1 on Marc Savard's gift goal 9:20 into the second, as the puck was lying on his stick with the net open and Roloson looking the other way after an odd rebound off the end glass.
"Mentally and physically, we've got to be ready to go," said Roloson, who was sharp again with 31 saves. "It's 60 minutes, and we probably played hard for 50."
Matt Moulson's 23rd of the season cut it to a one-goal game at 5:43 of the third, and the Isles forced the play for the remainder of the game. Bruno Gervais rang a shot from the high slot off the post with 10:33 left, but Thomas shut down the rest.
There was plenty of uncertainty heading into Wednesday's trading deadline, with mainstay defenseman Andy Sutton already dealt to the Ottawa Senators and Andrew MacDonald (broken foot) out four to six weeks. Add in the distraction of wondering whether a goaltender or another veteran would be traded, and the shaky start in Atlanta was easily explained.
Perhaps not so easily explained was yesterday's no-show first period.
Gordon dismissed a theory that his players, some of whom told Newsday this past week that the locker room was in some disarray after neither Roloson nor Martin Biron was moved, still are smarting from the lack of activity Wednesday.
"We're at a huge disadvantage on defense. That has nothing to do with the trade deadline," he said. "It's mental mistakes. If anything, we should have been through that after the Atlanta game, and we weren't. I'm tired of it and it's going to be addressed."