The Islanders and Bruins, second-round playoff opponents whose sequence opened in Boston on Saturday night time, should not exact mirror photographs of each other (Who, as an illustration, is the Brad Marchand equal on the Isles?), however they’re shut sufficient of their method to the sport.
Both groups are relentless in monitoring down puck carriers and limiting their opponents’ time and area. Both groups are laborious on the forecheck and go laborious to the online, the B’s with the predilection of at instances going laborious by way of opposing goaltenders. Both groups make it troublesome to get to the within. Both groups have superior goaltending.
Plus, each groups bulked up on the trade deadline. The Islanders improved their depth whereas partially filling the opening created by Anders Lee’s absence in buying Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the Devils. The Bruins reinvented their second line by buying Taylor Hall from the Sabres.
And Hall, who lollygagged his means by way of most of his keep in Buffalo following a bitter 2019-20 through which he wore out his welcome in New Jersey earlier than passing by way of Arizona, has, similar to that, regained the fervour and the shape that earned him the 2018 Hart Trophy.
That makes Boston a way more formidable outfit and a a lot harder membership to match up towards. That’s as a result of now it’s not solely about making an attempt to include the Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak first line (for which the “P” nickname won’t ever seem on this area regardless of how completely the road has been constructed), it’s also in regards to the problem of going through Hall with a revived David Krejci within the center and Craig Smith on the opposite aspect.
Before buying the 29-year-old winger, the Bruins had been giving Nick Ritchie or Charlie Coyle a good quantity of time on the second line. Ritchie and Coyle now slot in with Jake DeBrusk on a bodily third line.
“Since they got Taylor Hall, it really put everybody in the right seat on the bus,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz mentioned. “From an outsider, it has given them a primary line-second line that could be a menace and generally is a game-changer at instances for them.
“So should you take a look at our [Nick Leddy-Scott Mayfield] second pair and no matter line that’s on the market has to do a extremely good job and has to respect what they will do as a result of they’re very harmful. They’ve bought good complementary items on each traces, they’ve bought some velocity and a few end on the primary line with a really inventive middle.
“And their second line has some speed and a very creative centerman and they can do a lot of similar things,” the Islanders coach mentioned. “Their third and fourth traces give them actual good stability all through their group however that second line places all people of their place and makes them so harmful.
“We’re going to need whatever lines and pairs that are out there against them to have the same respect for that line as the Bergeron line and make sure you limit them — I don’t know if you can keep them off the scoreboard — as much as they can.”
In the five-game, first-round victory over the Capitals, the Bergeron line and the Krejci unit every recorded 4 objectives at five-on-five. Hall chipped in with a pair towards Washington after recording eight objectives in 16 regular-season video games as a Bruin following his disastrous exhibiting with the Sabres through which he scored two objectives in 37 video games.
While the Bruins have been pulling off their deal for Hall, the Islanders have been buying Palmieri and Zajac.
Palmieri had develop into a staple on the third line, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau within the center and Oliver Wahlstrom on the opposite aspect. Now that Wahlstrom is down with a leg harm, Zajac has joined the unit.
“Two things that Palms has done for us is that he’s given us a more natural scorer,” Trotz mentioned. “Michael Dal Colle was there for some time and bought injured in order that left us with a gap.
“Michael performed very effectively this 12 months, nothing towards him, however there was not a lot manufacturing. But we would have liked slightly extra end in our lineup and Kyle has supplied slightly bit of grit, slightly bit of end and slightly bit of expertise.
“Now without Anders Lee and Oliver Wahlstrom out, you need people to come in and do a real good job so if we didn’t have Palmieri or Zajac, we’d be in deep.”