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Three reasons Islanders can still win second-round series vs Bruins

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 18: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders looks at his stick during the third period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 2-1. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - MAY 18: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders looks at his stick during the third period in Game Two of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 18, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 2-1. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders
Anthony Beauvillier #18 of the New York Islanders. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New York Islanders can still certainly win their second-round series against the Boston Bruins. Here are few reasons why.

Being down 2-1 against the Boston Bruins isn’t great for the New York Islanders. According to Hockey Reference, when the away team makes it 2-1 in a playoff series they have a 71.4% chance of winning the series.

The Islanders already weren’t favored to win the series against the Bruins, losing Game 3 at home was less than ideal. Being down 2-1 to a very good Boston team is worrying. But this series is far from over.

There was certainly enough positives over the last two games for the Isles to get back in this series. I know that it’s hard to see the positives in a loss, but the Islanders played well enough to get a win in both of their last two games. And if they continue to play like that this series can turn in their favor.

The New York Islanders can certainly pull three wins out of this series in order to move on to the third round for the second straight year. So what are some of the things that can help the Islanders push this series to 2-2 and eventually into a date with either Tampa or Carolina in round three?

Defense

Game 1 aside, the New York Islanders defense is doing what we expect them to do. They are limiting the Bruins chances. They’ve been specifically good against the Bruins top line.

They haven’t been able to keep the perfection line totally quiet, but with the last change on home ice in Game 3, the Islanders have kept Boston’s top line to a single point.

Mind you that point was a decisive game-winner in OT. But through the game that top line was held to a not-so-stellar 51.98 xGF%. Relatively speaking, they were the Bruins second-best line. And that’s exactly what the Islanders want to see.

Sure, the Hall-Krejci-Smith line (who was the best of the B’s lines) has been good, but they aren’t nearly as dangerous as the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak trio. When Boston’s top line goes unchecked they are absolutely lethal. Keeping that top-line quiet is a priority.

And with Pageau out there against Bergeron, the Isles have found some success. Much of Pageau’s success against the Bergeron line comes from the faceoff dot. Bergeron is easily the best faceoff man in the league, right? Well, in Games 2 and 3 Pageau holds a 75% win rate against Bergeron.

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