And here… we…. go…. Bruins vs. Islanders. Second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Borrelli vs. Barstool Boston. Two very good teams going up against each other in the playoffs for the first time since the 80s. The Islanders had the Bruins' number early in the season, winning 5 straight games, but then the Bruins acquired a guy named Taylor Hall (ever heard of him?) and the Bruins would win the last 3 match ups of the year. It's gonna be an all out war in the Barstool Office and on the ice. Let's get into it.
If you're in Long Island we'll be streaming all of the games at Borrelli's.
Marchand - Bergeron - Pastrnak
Hall - Krejci - Smith
Ritchie - Coyle - DeBrusk
Kuraly - Lazar - Wagner
On deck: Frederic, Kuhlman
After a quiet Game 1 vs. the Capitals the Bergeron line came alive and showed up the rest of the series.
The Dam finally broke through for David Pastrnak who finally found the back of the net, finishing with 2G, 4A in the series. Brad Marchand (3G) and Patrice Bergeron (3G, 1A) stepped up once against in crucial games for Boston. As expected the Islanders will throw their toughest match ups against them to try and stop them. But I think this line is just getting started. Brad Marchand has been the MVP of the Bruins this year, the Islanders won't knock him as much off his game as much as the Caps tried to gaud him into those stupid penalties. I think he'll be smarter this round.
The Bruins are now a two headed monster with the acquisition of Taylor Hall (is a Boston Bruin) at the trade deadline who has helped revitalize David Krejci. Krejci did get banged around by the Caps but I'm expecting much better results for this line against the Islanders. Hall seemed to elevate his game in these tight checking matchups and I'd expect nothing different from him. Craig Smith got on the board with a 2OT game winner, looking for him to carry that momentum into tonight. Hall has 4 goals against the Islanders this year.
There's a new look 3rd line. I said it in my first round series preview but guys can re-write their season in the playoffs, and Jake DeBrusk is doing just that. He had 2 goals early in the first round against the Capitals and moved up to play alongside Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie. Coyle as a winger just was not working. I'm looking at this line to really hunker down in the zone, we know Coyle is a possession monster, they will look to wear down the Islanders. Keeping my eye on Coyle this series, need to see more from Big Nick Ritchie.
Like Ritchie, I want to see more from Kuraly - Lazar - Wagner tonight and in the series. Boston is at it's best when they are rolling all four lines. Especially at home. They cannot be hurting you in your own zone. Kuraly loves scoring big goals only, would love to see him pot a couple this round.
Players to watch: Taylor Hall, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle
NEW YORK FORWARDS:
Komarov - Barzal - Eberle
Beauvillier - Nelson - Bailey
Palmieri - Pageau - Zajac
Martin - Cizikas - Clutterbuck
Injured: Wahlstrom, Lee
There's no denying the star power of Mat Barzal, and I'm sure you're gonna hear a lot of "you coulda had Barzal in Boston!!" this series. (If you're a Bruins fan just counter with the Isles could've had Pasta but choose Dal Cole). Barzal went without a goal!!! in 6 games against the Penguins but he's still the Islanders best player and a threat every time he steps on the ice, on the verge of breaking through, which is a scary thought.
The Islanders second line, though… they are red hot. Anthony Beauvillier leads the Isles with 3G, 4A (7 points) this postseason. Brock Nelson (3G, 3A) and Josh Bailey (3G, 3A) aren't slouches either. But I'm sure they'll be seeing the Bergeron line for many of the match ups this series, which should cause problems for them defensively.
JG Pageau is the No. 1 Bruins killer the Islanders have with 5G, 3A for 8 points during Boston this season. He was even a Bruins killer when he was with Ottawa. Add Kyle Palmieri (who I wanted the Bruins to pick up prior to the Taylor Hall trade) in the mix who loves to score against the B's as well (5G in 9GP vs. BOS this year split between NJD and NYI). That third line is going to try and match Boston's firepower.
The Islanders boast a really solid, heavy 4th line in Martin - Cizikas and Clutterbuck who will try and cause problems for the B's. All three of them will be banging bodies
Players to watch: Mat Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, JG Pageau
Grzelcyk - McAvoy
Reilly - Carlo
Lauzon - Clifton
On deck: Tinordi, Vaakanainen
Charlie McAvoy, Chuck Norris, Chuckie Bright Lights… can't say enough good things about how he handled himself in the first round against the Capitals. Did it all. He's gonna be asked to do it all once again against the Islanders. Same goes for Matt Grzelcyk, like the Capitals, the Islanders have an unbelievable forecheck and these smooth skating defenseman are going to have to make smart plays out of their own zone. Looking at Grzelcyk and McAvoy to carry the load.
They had some tough times against the Capitals, but in the 2nd round I'm really looking at the Reilly - Carlo pairing to be a difference maker. Reilly can be a difference maker in the transition game and getting shots through offensively, and Carlo will help do it all on the PK and shutting down the Islanders top lines.
The Bruins lost Kevan Miller to a nasty high hit from Dmitry Orlov, he is feeling better but no timetable to return.
The good news is that Jeremy Lauzon (hand) looks ready to jump into Game 1. Connor Clifton was OUTSTANDING in his match ups against Alex Ovechkin in the first round after being thrown in after Lauzon's injury. He really stepped it up in Round 1 and excited to see him bring that same energy in Round 2.
Players to watch: Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, Mike Reilly
NEW YORK DEFENSE:
Pelech - Pulock
Leddy - Mayfield
Greene - Dobson
The Islanders lost key cog Devon Toews in the offseason, Frankie Borrelli wore a turtleneck at his wedding and he was promptly traded to the Colorado Avalanche. That being said, do not sleep on Pelech and Pulock, man they are one of the best pairings in the NHL and they make virtually nothing.
That being said, Nick Leddy and Scott Mayfield will have their hands full with the Hall Krejci and Smith line. This is where the depth of the Bruins can really start to hurt their opposition.
Players to watch: Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Nick Leddy
Tuukka Rask was lights out in the last four games vs. the Capitals after a shaky Game 1. There are still questions about his health, but if he plays how he did in Round 1? Bruins fans will be happy. Rask went 4-1 with a 1.81 GAA and a .941 save percentage.
NEW YORK GOALIES:
Ilya Sorokin started Game 1 for the Islanders in their first round series vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins but was replaced by Semyon Varlamov in Games 2 and 3. Sorokin would get the net the rest of the way and wouldn't give it up. So the Bruins will prepare for Sorokin but won't be surprised if they see Varlamov as well. Sorokin looked pretty good against the Penguins. 1.95 GAA and a .943 save percentage in his 4 games, he has yet to lose a game in the playoffs this year.
The B's struggled on the PP early in their first round series but started to put some better PPs together. They're sticking with their top unit of McAvoy, Krejci, Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak. PP2: Grzelcyk, Hall, Coyle, Smith, Ritchie.
On the flip side the Bruins were penalized 21 times.. TWENTY ONE TIMES in the first round against the Caps. Simply cannot repeat that in Round 2.
The Islanders on the other hand are much more disciplined, and are clicking at 18.8% on the PP in the postseason. Cannot give them any advantages, especially with special teams. B's will have to be smarter.
It is going to be an absolute battle against the New York Islanders, tight checking, low scoring, but the Boston Bruins are a deeper team offensively, and it's Tuukka Rask in net, not Tristan Jarry. Both teams are stout defensively, but I don't think the Islanders can match the Bruins offense.
I've got the Bruins in 6.
Game 1 - Saturday, May 29th… 8 pm ET at TD Garden in Boston
Game 2 - Monday, May 31st.. 7:30 pm ET at TD Garden in Boston
Game 3 - TBD
Game 4 - TBD
Game 5 - TBD
Game 6 - TBD
Game 7 - TBD
The Barstool Sportsbook has the Bruins as heavy favorites.
Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER for help.
The Garden is absolutely going to be rocking tonight. 8 pm start. Packed house. Restrictions lifted. God, I wish I was gonna be there.
We will be streaming every single game of the series at Borrelli's. Feed me Frankie Borrelli's soul.
Let's fucking go.
It's a great night to win a hockey game.