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Islanders: Three Takeaways from Game One Loss to Bruins

Mar 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) face-off during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 25, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (13) face-off during the first period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders were thoroughly outplayed in the opening game of their second-round series with the Boston Bruins, as they lost 5-2 at TD Garden.

The New York Islanders second-round matchup against the Boston Bruins began on Saturday night with a 5-2 loss. The Isles faced significant difficulty in holding on to the puck, and despite being opportunistic to keep the game tight through 40 minutes, could not hang with Boston in the third period after David Pastrnak’s hat-trick goal gave the Bruins the 3-2 lead.

Here are three takeaways from the 5-2 loss.

1. Islanders couldn’t get near the Boston slot

Despite being outshot and outplayed for most of the game, the Islanders kept game one tight on the scoreboard for the majority of play. That was in spite of the fact that they simply failed to ever meaningfully threaten Boston’s slot and net-front areas.

Sure, Anthony Beauvillier’s first-period tally to give New York the lead was redirected from the inner slot, but that was, unfortunately, the exception and not the norm in game one. By and large, New York failed to threaten from the dangerous areas, and it led to a lopsided game based on analytics.

The Islanders collected only 21.1% of expected goals (xG) in 52:38 of 5v5 play. That number is extremely low, obviously, and it comes from a mixture of the fact that New York was outpaced nearly two-to-one in unblocked shot attempts, but also because they couldn’t get shots from anywhere near the Boston slot at 5v5.

According to MoneyPuck’s interactive shots graphic, the Islanders tallied only six shot attempts from the inner slot all game. Three of those shots came in the first period, with one of those three being Beauvillier’s power-play goal.

New York’s inability to make Tuukka Rask’s job more difficult by slinging rubber from the dangerous areas was a major factor in their inability to win this game. It wasn’t that they weren’t opportunistic, but more so that they simply didn’t create quality scoring chances for themselves.

Natural Stat Trick recorded only two high-danger scoring chances for the Islanders all night. That is simply far too low a number, and New York will have to find ways to bring their performance in that metric up if they’re to compete in this series going forward.

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