The Boston Bruins might have had the New York Islanders number over the last few seasons, but that won’t be the case in 2021.
Ask any New York Islanders fan what team worries them the most in the new Eastern Division for 2021 and the consensus is likely to be the 2020 President’s Trophy-winning Boston Bruins.
Not only have the Bruins been a top team in the league for years now, but they regularly beat up on the Islanders. Over the last two years, the Bruins have enjoyed a 5-0-1 record and a +12 goal differential against the Islanders.
Again, the Bruins regularly beat up on the Isles. But that might change in 2021.
Missing Key Pieces
If there’s one thing we learned about the Boston Bruins last year, it’s how ineffective they are when that top-line isn’t clicking. The Bruins scored 227 goals in 19-20, the trio of Pastrnak, Marchand, Bergeron combined for 107 goals. That’s 47% of the Bruins goal production.
Both David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand will be out for sometime early in 2021 after offseason surgeries. Marchand is expected to return first and could be back in time for the Islanders home opener. Pastrnak might not be back until a month later. At the earliest.
Not having Pastrnak and Marchand will be a huge blow for the Bruins in this shortened season.
And then you consider they lost, and did not replace, their power-play quarterback in Torey Krug.
The defenseman joined the St Louis Blues as a UFA and the Bruins didn’t bring in an equal quality replacement to fill his spot.
Last season, the Bruins enjoyed the second-best power play in the NHL with a 25.2% efficiency. Krug was second on the team in power-play points with 28 in 19-20. Only Pastrnak has more with 38 power-play points.
With all that quality out of the lineup (even temporarily), the Bruins won’t be the same team they were in 19-20.
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It’s not to say the Boston Bruins are destined to be terrible, but with the temporary loss of their top two offensive players (Pastrnak and Marchand) combined with the loss of Krug, the Bruins are vulnerable. The Islanders – and their fans – should not be scared of the Bruins in 2021.