Game Preview: Boston Bruins @ NY Islanders

The Islanders are 0-1-1 against the Bruins this season.

Boston Bruins v New York Islanders
Boston Bruins v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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35-12-14. March 2, 2024. Isles vs. Bruins. 25-20-14. 7:30 PM EST. 70. MSGN, NESN. 106.

The NY Islanders (25-20-14, 64 points) will seek to continue their 2-game winning streak against the Boston Bruins (35-12-14, 84 points) at UBS Arena.

LAST GAME

The Islanders completed their 2-game road trip Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesar's Arena. The game began with each team successfully killing off one penalty a piece until Ben Chiarot took a tripping minor against Cal Clutterbuck. 8 seconds after Chiarot's penalty expired, Brock Nelson scored on a snap shot over the head of Alex Lyon. The Islanders kept the momentum as Casey Cizikas scored 4 minutes later on a deflection from Adam Pelech. In a positive turn of events, the Isles successfully killed 2 penalties in the first period.

The Red Wings found their offensive game 5 minutes into the second period as Olli Maatta scored on a slap shot from the blue line. With the Isles spending most of their time in the defensive zone, they were outshot 9-6 in this frame.

Right off the opening faceoff in the third period, Patrick Kane scored on a deflection from Dylan Larkin. The Red Wings kept momentum until Christian Fischer took a hooking penalty against Bo Horvat. Nelson took advantage with his 27th goal on an alluring set-up from Mathew Barzal. The Red Wings answered just 5 minutes later on Maatta's second goal of the night. The game seemed as if it was destined for overtime tied 3-3 until Horvat and Nelson battled for the puck in front of Lyon. As the puck was deflected into the corner, Barzal took a desperation shot that hit off of Lyon's skate and into the net. The Isles never looked back, even scoring their first empty-netter of the season from Pierre Engvall to win 5-3.

The Bruins' last game came on Thursday when they hosted the defending Stanley Cup Champion Las Vegas Golden Knights at TB Bank Arena. The game was scoreless until Morgan Geekie netted one past Adin Hill 14:34 into the first period. The Bruins achieved a rare hockey endeavor, scoring 2 more times within 3 minutes of each other on goals from Geekie and Jesper Boqvist. The Golden Knights were relentless in the second period, scoring three goals to shorten the lead to 4-3. After Chandler Stephenson tied the game on a shorthanded goal 5 minutes into the third period, rookie defenseman Mason Lohrei scored on the powerplay to secure a Bruins victory 5-4.

HISTORICAL MATCHUP

The Islanders are 0-1-1 against the Bruins this season. Their first matchup came on November 9th at TD Bank Arena. The first period concluded with goals from Trent Frederic and Nelson to tie the game 1-1. The Bruins took the lead in the second period on a powerplay goal from Boston native Charlie Coyle. The third period started with Simon Holmstrom continuing his shorthanded goal streak on a breakaway opportunity with J.G. Pageau. However, this game will forever be known as the Frederic game as he scored his first career hat trick to beat the Islanders 5-2.

The second matchup came on December 15th at UBS Arena. The first period ended with Linus Ullmark having to make 15 saves including some highlight reels against Barzal and Horvat. Alexander Romanov and Holmstrom finally shot 2 goals past him to open the second period. However, the Isles penalty kill was still atrocious as Geekie and David Pastrnak tied the game. The Isles scored twice in the third period on powerplay goals from Horvat and Nelson but blew the lead twice allowing goals to James van Riemsdyk and Lohrei. The game was eventually settled in a shootout as Holmstrom's slick backhand past Ullmark to tie it 1-1 was not enough to hold off Pastrnak's successful attempt against Ilya Sorokin to win the game 5-4.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Patrick Roy is sticking with his newly drawn Isles lineup, which has scored 10 goals since the third period against the Tampa Bay Lightning last Saturday. Barzal has 4 points, 5 hits, and 12 shots on goal since being paired with Nelson. Horvat also won a career-high 16 faceoffs on Thursday. The new third line led by Casey Cizikas has noticeably been the most improved, combining for 6 of the Isles' 27 shots on goal against the Red Wings. The pairing of Sebastian Aho and Mike Reilly has oddly been their best this week, combining for a +2 rating with 2 points and 9 blocked shots.

The Bruins are tied with the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division. Pastrnak is battling for the Hart Memorial Trophy, having 38 goals and 49 assists. Long Beach native Charlie McAvoy is having a career season with 9 goals, 108 blocked shots, and 111 hits. Frederic has proved his hat trick against the Islanders was not an anomaly with a career-high 35 points this season. Former Islanders defenseman Parker Wotherspoon has found regular playing time on the Bruins' bottom pairing, described by head coach Jim Montgomery as "Having a great energy about him".

PROJECTED LINES

ISLANDERS

Brock Nelson - Bo Horvat - Mathew Barzal
Anders Lee - J.G. Pageau - Kyle Palmieri
Pierre Engvall - Casey Cizikas - Simon Holmstrom
Matt Martin - Kyle MacLean - Cal Clutterbuck

Adam Pelech - Noah Dobson
Alexander Romanov - Ryan Pulock
Mike Reilly - Sebastian Aho

Ilya Sorokin
Semyon Varlamov

BRUINS

Brad Marchand - Charlie Coyle - David Pastrnak
James van Riemsdyk - Pavel Zacha - Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen - Morgan Geekie - Trent Frederic
Jakub Lauko - Jesper Boqvist - Justin Brazeau

Matt Grzelcyk - Charlie McAvoy
Mason Lohrei - Brandon Carlo
Parker Wotherspoon - Kevin Shattenkirk

Liunus Ullmark
Jeremy Swayman