The Boston Bruins and New York islanders will continue their second-round series tonight (7:30 PM ET, NBC, Sportsnet, TVAS) with Game 2 at TD Garden after a raucous opener last weekend that featured a giant party for 17,400 Bruins fans.
The Bruins pulled away in the third period and badly outshot and out chanced the Islanders in the opening game, and the Perfection Line had a field day with three goals, six points and 23 shot attempts while generating scoring chances nearly every time they were on the ice. Suffice it to say, the Bruins are expecting a better, more detailed defensive effort from the Islanders in Game 2, of this series could be over pretty quickly.
“They had a lot of other looks as well [as the goals]. Bergie was finding his ice,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, of what the top line was doing right in Game 1. “I’m sure [the Islanders] will tighten up. They’re here for a reason. They’ve got good goaltending and a good defense that’s well-coached in their own end.”
Certainly, Isles head coach Barry Trotz knows he’s got his hands full with the Perfection Line and paid them a great complement when compared to the Sidney Crosby line that they shut down with the Pittsburgh Penguins during their first round series.
“One of the questions (ahead of the series was), you did a good job against Crosby’s line, what’s the difference between Crosby’s and Bergeron’s?” said Trotz. “I can answer that probably a little bit better (after Game 1). With Crosby’s line, there’s a great player and two very good players. On (Boston’s) line, there’s probably three great players at different points in their career, and that’s what makes that line so good.
“[In Game 1] they were on and they were very difficult to stop, and to me they were the difference in the game. We won’t be able to win unless we have all four lines helping to keep them contained.”
Trotz certainly has a good grasp of the situation. If the Perfection Line keeps getting Grade-A chances and keeps getting into the slot area against an Islanders team designed to stop them, then the Islanders don’t have much hope of winning the series.
That’s why rebound performance for the Islanders is a must in a Game 2 that could really dictate how the rest of the series goes.
-Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask will be back between the pipes after going 5-1 with a 1.84 goals against average and a .937 save percentage to this point.
–Craig Smith (lower body) will be out for Game 2 after a leg-on-leg collision with Cal Clutterbuck during Saturday night’s win in Game 1. Jake DeBrusk will take his right wing spot on the second line and Karson Kuhlman draws into the lineup for the first time during these playoffs. Defenseman Kevan Miller remains out of the lineup with a concussion and there is no timetable for his return. Defenseman John Moore and forward Ondrej Kase have been ruled out for the season.
-Rookie defenseman Jeremy Lauzon made a return to Boston’s lineup for Game 1 after missing four of the five playoff games in the first round due to a right hand injury. Lauzon finished with a quiet 18:18 of ice time in Game 1 but looked to be caught up to speed and intensity by the end of the game.
–The Bruins’ powerplay is now 7-for-21 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after going 2-for-2 in Game 1 against the Islanders. The Boston Bruins are scoring at a 33.3% clip on the powerplay that has them third in the NHL playoff field behind only the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
-After killing off two of the three PPs for the Islanders in Game 1, the Bruins penalty kill has now killed off 20 of 24 power-play attempts against in the playoffs for an 83.3 success rate that has them ranked fifth among the playoff teams.
New York Islanders Notes
-Semyon Varlamov replaces Ilya Sorokin as the Islanders goaltender for Game 2 after Sorokin coughed up four goals on 39 shots in Game 1 and was kicking out rebounds all around the net against the Bruins top offensive players. Varlamov has struggled during the postseason, but he was dominant against the Bruins (5-1-0, 1.93 GAA and .943 save percentage) during the regular season.
-New York Islanders star Mathew Barzal had zero points, one shot on net and lost 17-of-22 face-offs against the Bruins in Game 1 and Trotz had some succinct advice for his playmaking center headed into Monday night’s Game 2.
“I think that if you get on your ice, it doesn’t matter who you play with,” said Trotz. “You’ve got to raise your game, and we’ve got some guys who need to raise their games if we’re going to beat the Boston Bruins.”
-The Islanders’ powerplay is 4-for-19 with an 21.1% success rate in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
-The Islanders’ penalty kill has killed off 9 of 14 power-play attempts against in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, giving them a 64.3 percent success rate.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – David Krejci – Jake DeBrusk
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Karson Kuhlman
Sean Kuraly – Curtis Lazar – Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk – Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly – Brandon Carlo
Jeremy Lauzon – Connor Clifton
New York Islanders Lines
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri – Jean-Gabriel Pageau – Travis Zajac
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson