BRIGHTON, Mass — The Boston Bruins view the New York Islanders as the opposite side of the same coin as they prepare for tonight’s series opener in the second round at TD Garden. Both teams are chock full of 200-foot two-way players that don’t mind heavy hockey, both teams have excellent goaltending and both teams are extremely well-coached while paying close attention to the details.
The Islanders aren’t going to crumble like the Washington Capitals did in the first round after blowing Game 3 in double overtime, but they don’t really have the explosive ability to dominate the Bruins with skill or physicality like the Capitals did at points. Truthfully, these will be heavy, hard-fought games where both teams battle for every inch of the ice and perhaps don’t combine for big goal-scoring totals throughout the series.
In other words, it will be grinding playoff hockey where the team that makes the fewest number of mistakes is going to win.
“I think they have a lot of our attributes. They want to be structured, they want to play with discipline, they have good goaltending,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy earlier this week. “Their ‘D’ certainly gets 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. Very well coached. So, for us, it’s a matter of staying within ourselves, play the game in front of you, put some pressure on their D.”
So, it’s going to be a grinding battle of wills doubling as a hockey playoff series, and here’s how we see it all breaking down: