The biggest knock against the New York Islanders is that they play a boring style that stifles the opponent’s chances and creates little of their own. This isn’t anything new of course, we’ve heard that narrative for years.
We know that the Islanders practice low-event hockey and the little talent they do have isn’t quite at the same level as some of the big-name squads out there. Like Boston.
And while that’s all true, there’s a big gap in that logic. Specifically this year. While the Islanders don’t possess the same number of “game breakers” as the Bruins do, the Isles have a ton of guys who can make an impact on any given night.
And that’s how the Isles won this series. Not because any single guy dominated the series or a game, but because multiple guys could step up on any given night and produce.
Just look at where the Islanders goals came from in this series compared to the Bruins:
*Data from NHL.com. Even strength goals in parenthesis.
Nearly 69% of the Bruins goals came from that top line. The most productive line for the Islanders (the Palmieri-Pageau-Zajac trio) accounts for 29% of the Isles goals in the series.
The Islanders weren’t able to take the Bruins top line out of this series. But they didn’t have to worry about it because the Bruins couldn’t generate anything outside of that top line. The Islanders may not have more top-tier talent than the Bruins, but they certainly have more second-tier talent than the Bruins and it was the difference in this series.
A side note here, but an overwhelming narrative going into this series was the Islanders inability to score at 5on5.
The Islanders outscored the Bruins 16-10 at 5on5. I’m not sure how NBC came to the conclusion that the Isles were worse than the Bruins at 5on5. During the regular season, the Isles were tenth for 5on5 goals-for with 113 while the Bruins were 15th with 107. The fact that the Isles bested the B’s at 5on5 in this series is no surprise.