With just 24 games left of the regular season, wins are that much more important. The NY Islanders hope to leave Massachusetts with two more points in hand as they get ready to take on the NHL's best, the Boston Bruins.
The Islanders last played on Friday night as they welcomed the Pittsburgh Penguins to the UBS Arena. The Penguins, who once again played without Tristan Jarry, have been riding high with Casey DeSmith in the net. Having won their last three out of four games, the Penguins hoped to continue to hold their wildcard spot against a lackluster Islanders, as of late. However, two goals from the captain, Anders Lee, and Brock Nelson, and a game-winning goal from Zach Parise would lift the Islanders past the Penguins, 5-4. Ilya Sorokin picked up 40 saves, allowing four goals and a save percentage of .909%.
On the other hand, the Bruins come into this game having won their past two games against the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators. Most recently, the Bruins shut out the Predators, 5-0. Brad Marchand would get Boston going against Nashville early in the first period, picking up the 1-0 lead. Craig Smith, Patrice Bergeron, Derek Forbort, and Trent Frederic would also get their names on the goal sheet. Jeremy Swayman would pick up the shutout victory, and improve his record on the year to 13-4-4.
These Eastern Conference rivals have will be meeting for the third and final time this season in today's game. The first time these two teams met was back on December 13, when the Islanders lost to the Bruins, 4-3 in a shootout. Casey Cizikas was able to tie that game at three to force overtime.
The next time these two teams met would be on January 18, when the Islanders lost in just an absolutely rough game, 4-1. Parise would be the only Islanders player to score a goal in this game, as he was able to put them up 1-0 in the first period. His goal came off assists by Sebastian Aho and JG Pageau.
Players to Watch
A player to be on the lookout for in this game is the captain, Lee. While he has had a pretty quiet run as of late, last night's game against Pittsburgh could be just the rejuvenation he may have needed to get his groove back. Prior to last night, Lee had only picked up one assist since the all-star break. While he may have been in a bit of a slump, after his two-goal and assist performance, one has to hope that this could revitalize him and bring him back to the Lee of old.
On the Boston side of things, the player to watch is certainly Charlie McAvoy. Over the course of his last five games, McAvoy has picked up four points all off assists. McAvoy has a way to get under the Islanders' skin, as the first time these two teams played, McAvoy tallied a point on an assist, and in the second game between the two teams, he picked up two points off of one goal, and one assist.