The Bruins get a matchup with the New York Islanders, who took down the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games. It’s a team the Bruins struggled with in the regular season, losing five of the eight games against the Islanders.
However that was the pre-deadline Bruins. And boy is that an entirely different team. It took a couple games against Washington to settle on, but the Bruins have been rolling, ending the Capitals’ series on a high note.
Which Bruins and which Isles are coming into the second round on a hot streak?
Tuukka Rask, G: The Rask haters might have been yelling from the mountaintops after Game 1, but they were awfully silent by the end of the series. He was fantastic in the four wins, including a 40-save performance in Game 5, finishing the series with a 1.81 goals-against average (GAA) and had a .941 save percentage (SV%).
Josh Bailey, RW: Every team has that one guy that always seems to come out of nowhere and score in the big moments — for the Islanders, that’s Josh Bailey. Three goals and three assists for Bailey in the first series, including the Game 5 OT winner and two assists in the Game 6 clincher. He has 32 points in 36 playoff games over the last three postseasons.
Charlie McAvoy, D: McAvoy is blossoming into an elite defenseman in the league at the perfect time. If McAvoy was producing the way he is in the this year’s playoffs all season long, he’d be the favorite for the Norris Trophy, and I don’t know if it would be close. He has five assists in five games this postseason and has been an analytics dream.
Ilya Sorokin, G: Sorokin was not supposed to be the starting goaltender in the playoffs. But when Varlamov wasn’t available for Game 1, then proceeded to play poorly and lose two straight games, Sorokin took over and has not disappointed. He’s yet to lose and has a .943 SV% and a 1.95 GAA. But will the young goaltender, who is playing in his first NHL playoffs, continue to handle the pressure?
Anthony Beauvillier, LW: A three-point performance in Game 6 capped out a great series for Beauvillier. He has a four-game point streak and is tied for the lead in points with J-G Pageau, each with seven in the playoffs.
David Pastrnak, RW: The first three games of the series were not some of the best hockey from Pastrnak, who seemed invisible at times on the ice. Well Pasta is back, especially after back-to-back games with a goal and an assist to end the series. Plus, he had his highlight-reel goal in Game 5 that broke the internet for a bit.