A lot has to go right for the New York Islanders to get past the Boston Bruins in the second round. Here’s where the Islanders have a clear advantage.
The New York Islanders and Boston Bruins will face off in the playoffs for the first time since 1983 when the two teams met in the Conference Finals. The Isles won out that series in six games before sweeping the Oilers in the 1983 Stanley Cup finals. Winning their fourth cup in four years and establishing one of the greatest dynasties in NHL history.
On paper, the Boston Bruins look scray. The perfection line is elite. They added a recent Hart Trophy winner for peanuts. And Tuukka Rask has been elite against the Islanders his entire career.
Then there’s the Islanders 8-9-3 record against the Bruins over the last five years is alright. It’s not good but not bad either. Until you consider that five of those wins are from this year. This year the Isles are 5-2-1 against them. So prior to this year they’re 3-7-2. Not good.
But look, there’s reason for hope in this series. Here are three areas where the Isles are better than the Bruins and where they could press that advantage.
Lack of Discipline
A lot of the playoffs is about keeping your cool and not getting caught in the moment. Because that’s when players can go over the line and take a penalty or two. And that can be disastrous in the postseason.
The Bruins were one of the least disciplined teams in the regular season this year. In 56 games, their 300:34 of shorthanded time was the fourth most in the NHL. The Islanders were 30th with 229:03 of shorthanded time on the season.
In these playoffs, the Bruins 37:03 of shorthanded time ranks second. The Isles are 12th (of 16 teams) with 18:54 of shorthanded time.
The Bruins clearly have a discipline issue that the Islanders can and should take advantage of.