After a successful first round of the playoffs for both the Bruins and Islanders they will match up in the second round of the playoffs. The Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders series will be one of the first, second-round matchups in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Game one of the Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders series will take place on Saturday, May 29th at 8 P.M.
Both teams have battled it out in the most competitive division in hockey: the Atlantic Division. The Boston Bruins found themselves third in the division as they accumulated 73 points in 56 games. The Islanders found themselves finishing fourth in the division since they have 71 points. Their close finish in the standings should lead to a highly competitive and entertaining second series.
How Does The Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders Series Matchup?
The New Islanders and Boston Bruins both play different styles of hockey leading to an interesting dynamic when they match up against each other. Under the watchful eye of head coach Barry Trotz, the Islanders have employed a defensive strategy that puts more focus on not allowing good scoring chances and allowing goaltender Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin to see the puck to make saves.
The Bruins play a similar but different style as they look to use the speedy forwards that they possess to advance the puck into the offensive zone where they will set up shop and try to get as many quality shots off as possible but they also make sure to use the game-breaking speed to get back and defend their net.
The clash of the two teams and different styles had seemed to have favored the Boston Bruins much better early on in the season as they won three straight games. Routinely scoring 3 or more goals the Bruins seemed to have found the key to success to beat the Islanders but the Islanders found the key to beat them in their final three matchups.
In the last three games, the Islanders held the Bruins to just six goals. The Bruins hoped that they can regain the magic they had in the first half of the regular season series while the Islanders hope to continue their strong performance against Boston.
Trade Deadline Acquisitions Paying Off
This season at the trade deadline general managers Lou Lamoriello and Don Sweeney made some surprising acquisitions that baffled lots of hockey fans. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello made the first real splash at the trade deadline by acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from a fellow Atlantic division team in the New Jersey Devils.
Since being acquired by the Islanders Palmieri had seemingly lost his scoring touch as he had just four points in 17 games with his new club in the regular season. In the first round, he seemingly regained his scoring touch as he scored three goals in the first round against the Penguins including the overtime winner in game one.
The other piece the Islanders acquired in the trade is Zajac. If you can believe it Zajac has been equally effective in the point-producing department as Kyle Palmieri. In the 13 regular-season games he played with his new team, he had a single goal and a single assist.
The 1000 game veteran has never been relied upon for scoring so it’s no surprise that he only has a single playoff goal. Islanders fans should not fret about his lack of scoring. His real value comes on the defensive end of the ice as he is a fantastic two-way center that should be used to attempt to shut down the Bruins best players.
Boston Bruins Trade Acquisitions
Don Sweeney didn’t want to be left out of the fun so he decided to make two significant trades of his own. He acquired Taylor Hall, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly on the same night. The first trade that went down on that night was a third-round pick being sent to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the services of defenseman Mike Reilly.
Since joining the Bruins Reilly far surpassed any and all expectations for him. He has become a very important member of the defensive core and has proven to be an effective two-way defenseman. In his 15 regular-season games with the Bruins, he produced eight assists. His production has cooled off a bit as he only has two assists in five games. Despite his offensive game cooling off his defensive part of the game has continued to be strong proving to be a valuable trade line addition.
The biggest prize of the trade deadline came in the second trade of the night by Don Sweeny. Taylor Hall was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres along with Curtis Lazar. Since joining the club both players have been extremely effective in their roles. Lazar has been an energy player on the fourth line alongside Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly.
He had two goals and two assists in the regular season and just a single assist in the first round of the playoffs against the Capitals. His lack of point production may worry some fans but Lazar’s role is not a scoring one. He is supposed to be a player that brings energy, big hits, and plays solid defense. He has perfectly filled that role since joining the Bruins.
On the other hand, Hall is the player that is supposed to score lots of goals. Again he has filled that role to perfection. He is the perfect winger to complement David Krejci, the duo has helped Hall score eight goals and six assists in just 14 regular season games wearing the black and gold. In the playoffs, he has been just as good as he has two goals and an assist in five games. One of his goals was an unreal flip shot over Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov.
Players To Keep An Eye On
On both sides of the match, the teams possess some real talent that will be instrumental in attempting to turn the series in their team’s favor. Both teams have some star forwards and rockstar goalies that will cause problems and frustrate the opposing team.
Despite playing in a system that puts more emphasis on playing strong team defense rather than scoring goals, the star player for the Islanders has managed to be a major point producer for his club. This season Matt Barzal scored 17 goals and added 28 assists to lead his team in scoring with 45 total points.
On numerous occasions, the 23-year-old center has shown off his unbelievable skills and speed to score highlight-reel goals that make the defenders and goalies look silly. During the playoffs, he has collected three assists in the six games against the Penguins.
Semyon Varlamov And Ilya Sorokin
This season has been quite strange for the Islanders goaltending. For starters, Semyon Varlamov was very streaky this season. During the first month of the season, he was head and shoulders above the competition in the race for the Vezina trophy. As the season progressed he went through some rough patches which dropped his numbers back towards the rest of the league. Since then his play has improved and he even held a shutout streak of 213 minutes and 56 seconds. That is the equivalent of about three and a half games.
The second interesting thing going on this season was how the Islanders decided to split the crease with budding superstar Ilya Sorokin and the established veteran Varlamov. Normally Varlamov would have gotten a greater percentage of starts but the Islanders wanted to integrate Sorokin into their lineup more and more to try and transition him to a bigger role in the net. This decision led to Varlamov finding himself sitting on the bench with a baseball hat on.
Despite the decrease in playing time Varlamov still put together an impressive campaign as he had a 2.04 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. In the playoffs, he got into two games and had some underwhelming numbers as he .903 save percentage and 3.61 goals against average.
Sorokin came into the season as the backup goalie but quickly started to challenge Varlamov for the starting position. He put together an impressive rookie campaign that saw him earn a .918 save percentage and 2.17 goals against average. The strong play continued into the playoffs as he got a surprise start in game one against the Penguins. During the playoffs, Sorokin’s statistics got even better as he had 1.95 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. Sorokin will most likely be the starter against the Bruins as Varlamov attempts to overcome a lingering injury.
The Bruins Perfection Line
The Boston Bruins first line is also known as the perfection line. David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron make up the perfection line and they proved during the Capitals series that they are a perfect line. They all played in the five games of the first round and all produced at an incredible rate.
Patrnak led the way with six points including two goals. Patrice Bergeron was second on the line with four points. Not only did he produce at nearly a point-per-game pace but he also played amazing defense. The four-time Selke trophy award winner helped the Tuukka Rask shut down the Capitals potent offense. The third and final part of the perfection line is Marchand. While he didn’t score at a rate comparable to his linemates he did provide a nasty side to the line that helped draw many retaliation penalties on the Capitals.
Boston Bruins Unsung Heroes
As previously mentioned the Bruins had some players step up and play well above their expected level of play. For starters, Jake Debrusk had an unbelievably start to the playoffs. After signing an extension in the offseason he disappointed in the regular season by scoring just five goals but his play so far in the playoffs has made up for it. He scored the Bruins first goal of the playoffs and added another goal in game two. Despite his much-reduced role on the team, he has found a way to be an effective member of the club.
Charlie McAvoy is another player that has surpassed expectations in this short playoff series. Coming into the series it was known that McAvoy would be leaned on to be the best defenseman for the Bruins but nobody expected him to produce points at the pace he did. He led the Bruins with five assists in the five games. So far he has been the Bruins best defender and also has been effective as the quarterback of the powerplay.
Rask always gets negative criticism from the Boston media but after this series against the Washington Capitals, there should be no criticism from anybody. He made 159 saves on the 169 shots he saw in the series giving him a .941 save percentage and 1.81 goals against average. These amazing statistics are well above the play we saw in the regular season and above the level we expected him to play during the playoffs.
Who Wins The Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders Series?
Obviously, it is impossible to know the future but just looking at the roster makeup of each team and the results of the regular season matchups the Boston Bruins should be the favorite in the series. The perfection line carries the majority of the Bruins offense but the trade deadline acquisitions of Hall and Reilly will help the depth scoring of the Bruins. This high-powered offense should be able to crack the Islanders lock-down defensive system.
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