After dusting off the Washington Capitals in five games, the Boston Bruins will play the New York Islanders in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, after the Isles sent the East Division top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins home in six games.
For the 2021 season, the Bruins and Islanders became division foes for eight games with the NHL’s realignment for the season because of COVID-19. The Islanders on five of the eight games played between the two teams, but the Black and Gold won the final three games, all in Boston, following the trade deadline where the Bruins added defensemen Mike Reilly and forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar.
Boston will have home-ice advantage for the best-of-seven series against the Islanders and home-ice advantage is something the Bruins would be wise to hold onto throughout the series.
During the regular season, the Bruins lost all four trips to Long Island and were badly outplayed and routed on the scoreboard. Boston was outscored 12-3 in regulation and overtime, while losing the final game in a shootout.
Yes, Boston did win two of the three games in the Capitals series on the road, but playing on the Island and in what is the final season of Nassau Coliseum, won’t be easy. Just ask the Penguins.
In the four games played at the TD Garden on Causeway St. this season, the Islanders won the first game in overtime, before the Bruins protected home-ice by winning the final three games in regulation.
The good thing for the Bruins is that restrictions in the state of Massachusetts are being eased significantly on Saturday, which will allow for nearly a full house with fans. What a jolt that should be for the Black and Gold after playing to a limited capacity the last two months.
This has the makings of a long and drawn-out, low-scoring, and tight-checking series, but protecting home-ice advantage is something that the Bruins would be wise to do.