Islanders' Aucoin knows what Bourque can bring to B's

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Islanders' Aucoin knows what Bourque can bring to B's

If anybody should know about Chris Bourques capabilities as an NHL player, it should be the guy that, up close and personal, watched him light up the AHL for a league-leading 93 points last year. Waltham native Keith Aucoin was one of those guys as a teammate and linemate of Bourques last season with the Hershey Bears before getting called up to the Washington Capitals once Dale Hunter took control of the team.

The 34-year-old Aucoin, now with the Islanders, knows that Bourque feels the double pressure of a family legacy in Boston and the need to establish himself as an NHL player, but also thinks theres a simple solution that will ease all of the pressure.

Once the first goal comes for Bourque, whether its five-on-five with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley or with the second power play unit, then things will start rolling for the 26-year-old winger. Right now Bourque has zero points and no shots on net in three games while averaging 13 minutes of ice time per night, and putting a crooked number next to those state lines brings with it a world of confidence.

He can score, he can pass and he doesnt take a shift off. He works hard, said Aucoin, who has two points in three games for the Islanders thus far this season while centering their third line. For him its all about getting the confidence. Once you get one goal they just keep on coming. Hes a good player that plays at both ends of the ice, so once he gets going hell be good.

Bourque has been just as happy for his former teammate after watching him put up 11 points in 27 games with Washington during the regular season. Aucoin suited up for all 14 playoff games for the Capitals last year while centering a fourth line that factored greatly in defeating the Bruins, and is now playing big minutes for the Isles after getting claimed from Toronto off waivers at the end of the lockout.

Of course all of that support doesnt come without the two buddies own version of hockey smack talk as they get ready to play against each other tonight when Aucoins Islanders invade the TD Garden ice.

I just talked to him, actually, said Aucoin with a smile on his face. I told him that Id been all over him tonight. But its actually really good to see him get a chance with his hometown team. Hes put in his time in the minors. Im happy for him.

It would be awesome to play for the Bruins but also a little stressful too with his last name. I played here a bunch of times last year during the playoffs with the Capitals and its a tough place to play and thats without the ticket requests and the people that come out of the woodwork. But growing up here and loving hockey I was always a big fan of the Bruins my entire life.

The Bruins coaching staff has been patient with Bourque knowing the dominant AHL player still waiting to burst, and his own Bruins teammates have all seen the offensive skills on display in practice. Now its just a matter of capitalizing on chances as the Bs third line looks to get an offensive jolt from a winger with a familiar last name.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

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Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.