So arguably probably the most loaded division within the NHL comes down to the Islanders and Bruins. The final time these groups squared off within the playoffs was again in 1982-83, when the Islanders defeated Boston within the convention remaining on the best way to their fourth straight Stanley Cup.
That was then, this is now. But these are two groups which have made a run at profitable all of it within the final three seasons, with the Isles coming off a convention remaining look in 2019-20 and the Bruins falling simply wanting the Cup in 2018-19, with a seven-game finals loss to the Blues. Both squads look practically the identical as they did throughout these respective runs, which implies it’s positive to be a series that highlights how hungry every staff is.
The Islanders went 5-3 in opposition to the Bruins in the course of the common season, profitable the primary 5 matchups and outscoring Boston 18-8. But within the remaining three conferences, when the Islanders have been on a downward spiral, the Bruins rolled to 3 wins, outscoring the Isles 10-3. Three of the eight video games went to additional time, together with a shootout.
The Post’s Mollie Walker takes a have a look at how the groups matchup.
The Islanders have maintained their religion in each of their goalies, veteran Semyon Varlamov and rookie Ilya Sorokin. While Varlamov was thought of the No. 1 all through the common season, by which he had a profession 12 months and led the league with seven shutouts, the 33-year-old netminder was rocky in his two begins within the first-round series in opposition to the Penguins. Sorokin began the series-opening win whereas Varlamov was held out after sustaining an harm within the regular-season finale. He returned for Games 2 and three, each losses, earlier than turning issues over to Sorokin. The 25-year-old stole a pair video games — together with a 48-save masterpiece in Game 5 — however the staff may return to the extra skilled Varlamov.
After opting out of the playoffs final season due to a household emergency, Tuukka Rask has been the Bruins’ No. 1 netminder. After a series-opening additional time loss to the Capitals, Rask backstopped 4 wins and posted a 1.81 goals-against common via the primary spherical. Jeremy Swayman, who arrived within the NHL forward of schedule when Jaroslav Halak contracted COVID-19 in April, has assumed the position as backup after a head-turning 7-3 document and 1.50 GAA in 10 regular-season begins.
The Bruins have been proper there two spots beneath the Islanders for the bottom goals-against common in the course of the common season, posting a 2.39 mark with the Isles at 2.23. Boston additionally owned the second-lowest common in photographs allowed per sport at 27.1.
However, the Islanders nonetheless allowed fewer targets this season. They even have a extra balanced and skilled defensive core led by Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock, who shut down the Penguins’ high line within the first spherical. Boston is a bit banged up on the again finish, with Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller and Jakub Zboril coming off accidents and Steven Kampfer dominated out. Charlie McAvoy is a Norris-caliber defenseman, and is coming off a stellar common season.
Much just like the Penguins, the Bruins are loaded up entrance. There’s the Perfection Line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, who mixed for 3 targets and 14 high-danger probabilities within the first-round, per Natural Stat Trick. Not solely are they dynamic, however Marchand performs a pesky sport that frustrates opponents. Oh, and the Bruins acquired Taylor Hall on the commerce deadline to flank their second line. He posted 14 factors in 16 video games after he arrived in Boston.
The Islanders are a balanced scoring staff, with a bulk of their offensive contributions coming from the center six within the first spherical. But the highest line of Leo Komarov, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle might want to come alive if the Isles wish to counter the Bruins’ offensive prowess.
The Bruins had a top-10 energy play in the course of the common season, and it carried over into the playoffs. Boston recorded 5 man-advantage targets in 5 video games, whereas averaging practically 4 power-play alternatives per sport. Boston additionally allowed the third-fewest power-play targets in the course of the common season, simply three greater than the Isles, and tied for probably the most shorthanded targets with 9.
Having a man-advantage hasn’t all the time bode nicely for the Isles, however their penalty kill is without doubt one of the higher ones within the league. The Penguins, nevertheless, scored three power-play targets within the first spherical, whereas the Isles went 3-for-16 with the man-advantage.
As the reigning Jack Adams Award winner, Bruce Cassidy has led Boston to immense success over his five-year tenure, together with a Stanley Cup remaining look in 2018-19.
However, Barry Trotz has the Islanders shopping for into his philosophies greater than ever earlier than. They are competing as one unit, one thoughts and one collective power. He additionally has a Cup to his credit score with the Capitals in 2018.
The Bruins could also be taking part in a few of their greatest hockey, however the Isles have confirmed they’ve the power to dominate Boston. These are two skilled squads, nevertheless, when the Islanders are at their greatest, it’s the actual type of hockey that may shut down the Bruins.
Islanders in six