After nearly a week off, the Boston Bruins will finally be back on the ice this Saturday. The Bruins closed out the Washington Capitals last Sunday, and they have been waiting to see whether they would play the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Islanders since that win. The Islanders’ win means that the Bruins will have home ice advantage in this series, and the winner will go on to the Stanley Cup semifinals.
New York Islanders at Boston Bruins
When: Saturday, May 29, 2021, 8 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
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The Bruins won four straight games to eliminate the Capitals after losing Game 1 in overtime. Boston beat Washington in overtime in Game 2 and Game 3, and the Capitals were held to just a single goal in each of the last two games.
As for the Islanders, they thrived in overtime against the Penguins. They beat Pittsburgh in overtime in Game 1 and Game 5, and the Isles overcame a 2-1 series deficit to win three straight games against the division winner. New York punished Pittsburgh physically throughout the series, but that same strategy won’t have as much success against a tough Boston team.
These teams met eight times during the regular season. The Islanders won the first five meetings, but the Bruins have won three in a row against the Isles.
What to Watch
Mathew Barzal wasn’t at his best against the Penguins. The Islanders’ leader in points during the regular season only notched three points in the first round. He failed to score a goal as he was guilty of making one too many passes at times instead of putting pucks on the net. However, Barzal was able to use his mobility and puck handling to break down Pittsburgh’s defense. That will be needed against Boston in this series.
There isn’t a lot of offensive firepower in New York. The Islanders play sound defense under Barry Trotz though, and that propelled them past the Penguins in the first round. Four players tallied three goals for the Isles in the last series, and they were the top goal scorers.
Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Anthony Beauvillier, and Kyle Palmieri are the players that found the back of the net three times. Only one of that quartet scored a power play goal, and that’s something the Isles want to get going in this series as they will need to convert their chances on the man advantage.
The usual suspects are at the top of the scoring table for the Bruins. David Pastrnak led the team with six points in five games against the Capitals, and he continues to be a difference maker in the Playoffs. Pastrnak has scored at least 20 goals in five straight seasons, and he would have likely bagged his fifth straight 30-goal season if the NHL played a full season.
Brad Marchand continued to do what he does best too: score goals and annoy people. He netted two power play goals against the Caps, and he led the Bruins with 10 penalty minutes in the series. Marchand is one of the best players in the league, and while he can go overboard with his antics at times, he also does a great job of getting into the heads of his opponents.
Boston has some other very talented players too. Patrice Bergeron is a proven playoff performer, and Charlie McAvoy has come along nicely as Boston’s best defender. McAvoy assisted on all five of Boston’s power play goals against Washington. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk have played well too.
New York Islanders at Boston Bruins Free Pick
While the Bruins are the better team, they are likely to come out slow after the layoff. The Islanders will have the physical edge in Game 1, and that will be enough to at least stay within a goal.
Islanders at Bruins Best Bet: New York Islanders +1.5
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