3 Boston Bruins vs. 4 New York Islanders
Bruins: 4-1 to win the first round of the Stanley Cup against the No. 2 Washington Capitals; 33-16-7, 73 points in the regular season
Islanders: 4-2 to win the first round of the Stanley Cup against the No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins; 32-17-7, 71 points in the regular season
Season series: BOS 3-3-2; JNI 5-2-1
Game 1: Samedi (20 h HE; NBC, SN360, TVAS)
The Bruins and Islanders will face off in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third time and the first since 1983, when New York won the Wales Conference Final among the top seven in six games, en route to win the last of four consecutive Stanley Cups championships.
Boston is in the second round for the fourth consecutive season; New York is in the second round for the third consecutive season.
“I think they have a lot of our attributes,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday. “They want to be structured. They want to play with discipline. They have good guardians. [defensemen] play, they certainly get involved, but they want to play D first. They have different lines that can hurt you. So in this regard, we play ourselves a bit. “
The Islanders won the first five of eight regular season games between the teams in the MassMutual East Division before the Bruins won the last three. All three of the Bruins’ victories came after acquiring the left wing Taylor Hall of the Buffalo Sabers in an April 12 trade to bolster their forward depth behind their vaunted top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David pastrnak.
With Hall scoring 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 16 regular season games, Boston went from 2.72 goals per game before the trade to 3.41 goals per game thereafter, then averaging 3.20 goals per game in the first round against Washington. After passing a powerful team of Penguins who included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake guentzel and Jeff Carter, the Islanders expect to have their hands full on the defensive again.
“We’re going to have a big challenge with the Boston Bruins,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “They play very, very well. As you’ve seen, they played the Capitals, and they’ve got game changes in there too. [first] line and then they really added to that second line (Hall, David Krejci and Craig Smith). It’s a deep team playing the right way, and it will be an event for both teams. “
Video: Top New York vs Boston Match Games
Bruins: Pastrnak hasn’t scored on 19 shots in the first three games against the Capitals. But the right wing had one goal and one assist in each of the last two games and finished the series with six points, a Boston-high (two goals, four assists). Pastrnak returned from hip surgery in the offseason to score 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 48 regular season games.
Islanders: More Mathew Barzal had a rather calm first round against the Penguins with three assists in six games, he had some dazzling moments creating scoring opportunities in Game 6 and could be close to breaking through. The center led New York with 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) in 55 games during the regular season and scored 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 22 playoff games in its run to the finals of the ‘Eastern Association last season.
Bruins: Tuukka Rask made the difference against the Capitals with a 1.81 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Limited by an upper-body injury, Rask was 15-5-2 with an average of. 2.28, a .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 24 regular season games. Beginner Jeremy Swayman (7-3-0, 1.50 GAA, .945, two shutouts in 10 games) will continue to support Rask after passing former Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak (9-6-4, 2.53 GAA, .905, two shutouts in 19 games) on the depth board when Halak missed three weeks in April due to testing positive for COVID-19.
Islanders: In the first round, rookie Ilya Sorokin became the 10th goaltender in NHL history to win his first four playoff games; he was 4-0 with a 1.95 GAA and .943 save percentage. Sorokin (13-6-3, 2.17 GAA, .918, three shutouts in 22 regular season games) started Game 1 against Pittsburgh with Semyon Varlamov injured and played the last three games of the series after Varlamov struggled (3.61 GAA, .903) to lose games 2 and 3. But don’t be surprised if Varlamov, a contender to be elected winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best NHL goalie in the regular season (19-11-4, 2.04 GAA, .929, seven shutouts in 36 games), gets a shot in this series.
Video: NYI @ PIT, Gm1: Sorokin saves on Crosby ahead
Figures to know
Bruins : Marchand has scored three goals in five games in the first round and has 98 playoff points (40 goals, 58 assists) in 126 games since 2011, the fourth most points in the NHL in this period behind Crosby (109) , Nikita Kucherov of Lightning of Tampa Bay (106) and Malkin (101).
Islanders: The Islanders have won the last three games against the Penguins despite a 117-78 lead. Their series shooting percentage of 11.2% (21 goals of 187 shots) was up from 9.4 in the regular season.
Bruins : Jake DeBrusk had an irregular regular season with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 41 games after scoring 35 points (19 goals, 16 assists) in 65 games last season. But the forward played well in the first round, scoring three points (two goals, one assist), and formed an effective third row with Nick Ritchie and Charlie Coyle. DeBrusk scored 26 points (16 goals, 10 assists) in 54 playoff games.
Islanders: Jean-Gabriel Pageau led New York with eight points (five goals, three assists) against Boston in the regular season, playing all eight games and tying Anthony Beauvillier for the Islanders lead with seven points (one goal, six assists) in the first round. Center raises its playoff game; he has scored 21 goals in 63 playoff games, an average of 0.33 per game, up from his regular season average of 0.21 per game (103 goals in 489 games).
They said it
“The Islanders are playing a really physical game, a really tough team to face. They’re going to finish their checks and they’re going to work every shift. I think it will be a good test for us. “- Bruins Defender Jeremy Lauzon
“Obviously they play good hockey. They beat a very good team. We beat a very good team. This will be another fun series to participate in. ” – Islanders ahead Rabbit Travis
Will win if …
Bruins : They continue to get a balanced rating. The line of Marchand (three goals), Bergeron (three goals) and Pastrnak (two goals) were productive against Washington, but Boston also had goals from six other players in the series, including Hall (two), DeBrusk (two ), Coyle (one), Ritchie (one), Smith (one) and Matt Grzelcyk (a).
Islanders: Sorokin and / or Varlamov at least match Rask’s performance in net. Sorokin was superior to Pittsburgh Tristan Jarry (2-4-0, 3.18 GAA, .888 save percentage) in the first round, but New York is likely to face much better goalies from Rask. While it is harder for the Islanders to score, Sorokin cannot give up his game.
How they look
The Bruins’ planned roster
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall — David Krejci — Craig Smith
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Jake DeBrusk
Sean Kuraly — Curtis Lazar — Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly — Brandon Carlo
Jeremy Lauzon – Connor Clifton
Striped: Anton Blidh, Trent Frédéric, Karson Kuhlman, Greg McKegg, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Jarred Tinordi, Urho Vaakanainen, Jack Ahcan, Callum’s cabin, Jaroslav Halak, Dan Vladar
Injured: Ondrej Kase (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), , Kevan Miller (undisclosed), Steven Kampfer (hand surgery)
Islanders’ planned programming
Leo Komarov – Mathew Barzal – Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier – Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Travis Zajac
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Striped: Michael Dal Colle, Ross Johnston, Braydon Coburn, Cory Schneider, Austin Czarnik, Andrew Ladd, Kieffer bellows, Facebook Facebook logo Sign up for Facebook to connect with Sebastian Aho, Thomas Hickey
Injured: Oliver Wahlstrom (not disclosed)