Even if the Islanders did watch Boston goaltender Pete Peeters in one of his poorest performances Saturday, they're not about to relax against him tonight.

The Islanders hold a 2-1 edge in their best-of-seven semifinal series with Boston. They also see Peeters' letdown as only temporary.

"He knows exactly what he's doing," said Bob Nystrom. "He's challenging everybody. For some time now, I've had the opportunity to watch the guy. He's a tremendously cool goaltender."

On Saturday, Peeters wasn't quite Joe Cool, facing 26 shots and stopping just 19 of them in the Bruins' 7-3 loss. Although his style in the net is basically a flopping, diving one, during the playoffs he has begun to wander out of the crease on most shots, primarily because injuries have weakened the Boston defense.

Mike Milbury, who fractured his right kneecap March 29 against Quebec, remains out, and Randy Hillier, who tore a ligament in his right knee last month, played for the first time in Saturday's game. But Peeters continues to travel out to meet his opposition.

"I'm very aware of when people are around the net and I know how they like to work there," Peeters said last week. His game plan against the Islanders has been to shut off approaching skaters before they gain control of the puck for a close-range shot.

Until Saturday, it seemed to be successful, particularly in Game 2, when he made 32 saves and the Islanders were limited to only Denis Potvin's goal in a 4-1 loss.

But Peeters' tremendous cool gave way to pure frustration in Game 3, as he alternately flopped, dove and wandered in an attempt to keep the Islanders at bay.

"The way to beat him is to try to keep some guys in front of him, to screen him," said John Tonelli. "It worked on Saturday. You could see him coming out and a good sharp pass could beat him. Trots' (Bryan Trottier) goal got him that way, and (Mike) Bossy's."

Trottier, skating in on Peeters' right side, took a cross-ice pass from Bossy and kept skating, flipping the puck into the net before Peeters could even try to get back in position.

Bossy described his power-play goal as a "slam-dunk," a quick, doorstep feed from Trottier that caught Peeters flat-footed.

"We've been trying to get guys in front of him, but sometimes he gets a lot of breaks," said Ken Morrow, another one of the guys in front of Peeters who got a goal Saturday. Morrow's original shot was batted away, but Anders Kallur got it back to the defenseman and he scored.

Peeters would not discuss his play Saturday night, but Boston defenseman Brad Park defended the goaltender, saying, "I don't really think it (frustration) got to him till the last three minutes of the game."

Duane Sutter predicted a day earlier that the Islanders "would explode against him (Peeters)."

"He's already made too many good stops," he said.