It’s Friday night lights at the Boston Garden tonight when the New York Islanders (2-1-0) come to town to take on the Boston Bruins (2-0-1).
The Islanders are coming off a big 7-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and look to keep the momentum going tonight versus the B’s. Michael Grabner leads them in scoring with 3 goals and 2 assists.
Rick DiPietro will get the start in net for the Isles according to Rich Diaz of eyesonisles.com and poor Rick hasn’t played in an NHL game since 2011, which oddly enough was the same year as DiPietro’s last victory over the B’s. I should note he also only played in 8 games before missing the rest of the season. He also played his college hockey at Boston University so he is no stranger to Causeway Street.
The Isles also boast the 2nd best penalty-kill in the league (behind your Boston Bruins), so we know they cannot only score (they put up a 7-spot already this year), but they can play some defense as well.
The Bruins are coming off a hard-fought 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers at the Madison Square Garden. The B’s dug themselves an early 2-0 hole and battled back twice until finally losing in OT.
All players are healthy and ready to go for tonight’s game, with the exception of defenseman Dennis Seidenberg who will be a game-time decision. Aaron Johnson has filled in admirably while Seidenberg heals, so expect to see Johnson if Seids once again is forced to miss a game.
Tuukka Rask is expected to make his 4th start in a row and he has been solid since the first puck drop of the season. The Rangers could’ve very easily been blow out on Wednesday night if not for Tukka. He made a few highlight reel saves, which makes it easy to see why he has a 1.95 goals against average and a more than respectable .926 save percentage.
The Bruins shouldn’t take their opponent lightly as the Isles appear to be an improved version over last year’s squad and in a short season the B’s can’t afford many losing streaks. I look for them to come out quick at home and never look back. It will be a good bounce back game for the B’s.
No predictions from me this time, although I will say the Bruins shouldn’t lose this game, not at home and definitely not to the Islanders.