The Waiting Game…
It has been almost a week since the Bruins ousted Ovechkin and Co. in 5 games. The team was able to rest and heal up for their upcoming series while keeping tabs on the Islanders and Penguins match-up as they waited to see who their opponent would be in the Division Finals. Well, they know who they’re playing now!! The Boston Bruins will be facing off against the New York Islanders, a team who ousted Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in a hard-fought battle of 6 games in the first round. This will be the first time since 1983 that the Bruins and the Islanders will meet up in the Playoffs, and only the 3rd time they have ever met in the playoffs.
How the Bruins Matchup…
The Bruins seem to match up well against the Islanders. While this is a team that has owned the Bruins quite a bit this season, the tide has changed some since the post-trade deadline acquisitions for the Bruins, who have been rolling since then. On the flip side, the Islanders have faced some struggles, even if they got through Pittsburgh in 6.
Do not let the struggles fool you though, because this Islanders team, as we have seen, is very well-balanced and strong. They are going to come to play and are going to be a tough out, but it can be done.
The Black and Gold do have a slight advantage in this series right out of the gate–home-ice advantage–which also means they get the chance at final line change which is HUGE.
I know they have done well on the road, but, this home-ice advantage could play a huge factor for the team. They are set to push full capacity at the TD Garden on Saturday and You all know as well as I do that Bruins playoff games at the Garden with a packed house is a hard game to win for the opponent, and boy with fans coming back for the first time the Garden will be ELECTRIC
You cannot forget the biggest aspect here–the goalie matchup. The most likely matchup is going to be Tuuka Rask vs. Illya Sorokin. Both have had their ups and downs this season. The Islanders haven’t seen too much of Rask this year due to his nagging back injury that kept him out most of the season, so New York will be expecting that. Whereas Sorokin has done well all season against a tough Bruins team.
Rask is as elite as it gets and has the advantage in this matchup and is considered as one of big the factors in this series. The Boston netminder currently leads playoff teams in save percentage at .941 with 1.81 goals against
Sorokin is having just as good of a postseason as Rask, as he has posted a .943 save percentage with 1.95 goals against.
As you can see, these stats are as close as you can get when it comes to goalie matchups and it is sure to be a doozy of a series if they can keep their current level of play.
Biggest X-Factor in this Series…
The biggest X-factor for the Bruins in this upcoming series is going to be Taylor Hall and the 2nd Line… and I think they are going to step up in a big way. Krejci has been electric since the acquisition of Hall and it just goes to show that all he needed was another scorer on that line with him to help even things out. It has shown tremendously since. If they can keep up the chemistry, then the goals will be plentiful for the 2nd line in this series.
Yes, it seems that bizarre that I’m not saying the perfection line needs to step up a little more next series, but honestly, I don’t think they need to do much more than they did the last series. The Capitals were a hard-hitting team, and we knew that coming in. We knew they would target that first line, so I expect them to be back to the way they were in Games 4 and 5, and if they do not dominate it will not be a big deal as long as that second line is producing.
This is tough. Going into the playoffs, I stood my ground by saying that the winner of the Capitals and Bruins series would go on and be in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Islanders play tough, have a stingy defense, a well-balanced offense, and will put up a good fight as usual. The main factor though is that you are going to face a fully rested Bruins team ready and rearing to go. I think it’s going to be hard to beat this Boston team… Prediction: Bruins in 6
Game 1 of the Bruins and Islanders starts Saturday night, May 29th at 8 PM
Saturday night. Full house. Can’t wait. pic.twitter.com/AA0arZ8rRK
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) May 27, 2021
BUCKLE UP!! IT IS GONNA BE A GOOD ONE!!
-Jeff Hoak (@JeffHoak1)
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