Islanders: Pros and cons of series vs Philadelphia Flyers or Boston Bruins
Regular-season record: 44-14-12 (100 points)
Record vs Islanders (since 18-19): 1-3-2
Goalie battle: With Tuukka Rask back at home to be with his family, the Islanders have the edge in the goalie department. Jaroslav Halak has been good for the Bruins with a 0.932SV% and 1.08GSAA (in all situations). But Semyon Varlamov has been better with a 0.935SV% and 2.33GSAA.
At 5on5, Varlamov holds a 0.963SV% (ranked third in the playoffs) and 5.34GSAA (ranked first in the playoffs with Jacob Markstrom). At 5on5, Halak holds a 0.908SV% and a -1.65GSAA. Again, Varlamov is the better goalie.
(Again, stats from NaturalStatTrick and from August 11th onward.)
The way these two teams play a series could be decided by the goalie, and on paper that edge goes to the Islanders.
Better Offense: Through five games in the playoffs the Islanders have a better offense than the Boston Bruins. I know. The Isles have scored 3.4 goals per game to the Bruins 3.00 per game.
I know holding 0.40 goals per game edge doesn’t sound like much of an advantage, but consider how both teams fared offensively in the regular season. The Isles ranked 22nd with 2.78 goals per game while the Bruins were the ninth-best offense with 3.24 goals per game.
It wasn’t expected that the Islanders would be good offensively. Josh Bailey is one of the most productive players in the postseason with ten points. While Anthony Beauvillier is one of the most prolific goal scorers in the postseason with six goals.
Top Guys Going: The trio of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak have combined for 17 points across the Bruins eight games in the postseason. That already sounds impressive, but consider that most of that production comes in their five games against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Marchand was the only one of the three who had a point in the round-robin. Also, Pastrnak has only played two games against the Hurricanes and still put up four points.
The Bruins top guys weren’t “there” in the round-robin, but now that the games matter they are putting up a ton of points.
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Bad match-up: There’s no better proof that the Bruins are a bad matchup for the Isles than the Islanders 1-3-2 record against the Bruins over the last two years. Push that out to five years and the Islanders are a horrendous 3-10-2 against the Bruins.
The Bruins just know how to beat the Islanders and they’ve done it time and time again for years now.