NHL Playoffs Prediction: Boston Bruins versus New York Islanders

casey cizikas
May 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Islanders center Casey Cizikas (53) and Boston Bruins left wing Taylor Hall (71) battle for a loose puck in front of goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins versus the New York Islanders will open round two of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 1 is tonight in Boston and will start at 8 PM ET.

Before I get into my second preview and predictions, here’s out where I stand with my first round predictions. If the Maple Leafs win their series against the Canadiens, then I will be 4-4. The only one I hit on perfectly was the Golden Knights in seven over the Minnesota Wild.

I correctly had the Avalanche over the Blues, and Lightning over the Panthers. I failed miserably with the Oilers in six over the Jets who won it in four. I also mistakenly had the Penguins over the Islanders along with the Capitals beating the Bruins. My upset pick of the playoffs was the Predators in seven over the Hurricanes. It was a close series that many had as a sweep, but Carolina prevailed in six.

Let’s dive in to the round two.

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East Division Round Two Prediction

#3 Boston Bruins vs #4 New York Islanders

During the regular season, the Islanders had the edge picking up 11 out of a possible 16 points (5-2-1), while the Bruins gained 8 (3-3-2). These are two evenly matched teams that play a similar style. Offensively, the Bruins have the edge as they averaged 2.93 goals per game during the regular season to the Islanders 2.71. In the playoffs, it is the Islanders who are scoring at a 3.50 goals per game pace to the Bruins 3.20. It’s a misleading stat because the Penguins Tristan Jarry was absolutely abysmal in the playoffs with a .888 save percentage.

“They want to be structured. They want to play with discipline. They have good goaltending. Their [defensemen] play, they certainly get involved, but they want to play D first. They’ve got different lines that can hurt you. So in that regard, we’re playing ourselves a little bit.”

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy

Offense: Edge Bruins

The Islanders, outside of Mathew Barzal are an interchangeable flock of forwards. They are in essence robotic and a byproduct of the system. On the blue-line, there isn’t any standout offensive defenseman but an offensive team is just not who the Islanders are.

Meanwhile, the Bruins top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand will give the Isles defense all it can handle. The trade deadline acquisition of Taylor Hall seals the deal for me and gives Boston the edge.

Defense: Edge Islanders

Hands down, the NY Islanders are the best defensive team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are relentless on the forecheck, excellent with their gap control, and keep dangerous chances to a minimum. From the first line to the third pairing defense, the Islanders can play defense and use that to flip to offense.

Boston is also pretty damn good at defending, but it’s hard to not give the Isles an edge here.

boston bruins versus new york islanders
May 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) in goal during the third period against the New York Islanders at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Goaltending: Slight edge Bruins

The winner of this series is going to be the team with the better goaltending. Ilya Sorokin is living up to the billing as he put on a clinic against the Penguins. He may have also become the Isles number one goalie over Semyon Varlamov. His .943 SV% and 4-0 record make him one of the best goalies in these playoffs.

At the other end, Tuukka Rask is finding his Stanley Cup winning form after a disastrous post-season in the bubble last year. Rask is 4-1 with a .941 SV% and a stunning 1.81 GAA. The reason I am giving Boston the slight edge here is because of experience. Sorokin is a rookie, a great one at that, but this one may go the distance and that’s where I will take the experienced net minder.

Final Predictions: Bruins in 7