Jan 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) celebrates win against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Bruins defeated the Flyers, 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Bruins-Islanders: An Interesting Eastern Conference Matchup

The Boston Bruins are coming into tonight’s matchup against the New York Islanders on a two-game winning streak, hot off of a 6-1 rout over the ailing Philadelphia Flyers in which Jerome Iginla and Zdeno Chara buried a pair of goals each . Reilly Smith and Patrice Bergeron each netted another score while David Krejci effectively contributed with three assists.

Overall, the Bruins played a spectacular game on both ends of the ice, as virtually every line displayed excellent forecheck along the boards and great puck movement when cycling in Philadelphia’s end. When the Bruins play well, they dictate the pace of play coming out of their own zone. They did exactly that against the Flyers.

“I thought our guys committed pretty well,” coach Claude Julien said after Saturday night’s win. “They had a couple good chances in the slot that our guys came back and got their sticks on. We know they’re extremely good down low. They make plays in tight. I thought defensively, we played well. Also offensively, we wanted to manage the puck.”

Despite standing atop the Eastern Conference in second place, there are times when you have to question the Bruins consistency,  but then again, you have to hold your tongue because an 80-game hockey season is often riddled with fluctuating performances. The Bruins have showed that the Islanders, despite their current weak record, are awfully pesky, as the B’s lost to New York in the only two meetings between these two teams this season.

That’s why I say that this matchup will be interesting. The Islanders are a tough, scrappy bunch, and the Bruins are physical themselves. The Bruins, however, are more skilled and fluid on the ice. They should win this game, but like I said, you can never guarantee a win in this league. The B’s will have to come ready to play.

Keep your eye on Smith in this game. The 22-year-old Canadian winger has really been a breath of fresh air for the Bruins this year; he is second behind Krejci in team points with 37, and the youngster has showed excellent skill right from the moment he stepped onto the ice after the Tyler Seguin-Loui Eriksson trade. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him step up as the key player for the Bruins.

 

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