The lone game on the NHL’s Wednesday slate is a potential elimination contest between the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders. New York holds a 3-2 lead in the series heading to Nassau Coliseum, where they are 4-1 in the playoffs.
Puck drop is at 7:30 P.M. Eastern on NBCSN. Despite trailing in the series, the Bruins are the betting favorites at (-132), while the home Islanders are (+114).
Boston Bruins Preview
The biggest key to a Bruins victory will be staying out of the penalty box. Boston conceded three power-play goals in Game Five, and it ended up being the difference with a 5-4 scoreline. The Islanders and Bruins rank first and third in 5-on-5 goals in the playoffs, respectively, and both rank in the Top Four in power-play goals in the playoffs.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask was pulled after two periods in Game Five after allowing four goals on 16 shots. However, when three of the goals he allowed were on the power play, it’s hard to fault Rask. Pulling Rask could have been a message to the team that they needed to play better as well, and while Boston’s comeback effort came up short, the Bruins rallied in the third and outshot New York 44-19 for the game.
Brandon Carlo (undisclosed) and Kevan Miller (undisclosed) have already been ruled out for Game Six, weakening Boston’s defense corps. Curtis Lazar (lower body) is out as well, which hurts Boston’s center depth and bottom-six forward group.
New York Islanders Preview
The Islanders need to maintain the offensive pressure in Game Six if they want to win and advance to the semifinal round. While the five goals they scored was impressive, they can’t rely on getting three power-play goals to bail them out. Putting up 19 shots is unlikely to cut it either.
Mathew Barzal has scored a goal in three straight games and is third on the team in playoff points (three goals, six assists). While his production has been great, the depth production from Anthony Beauvillier (four goals, seven assists), Kyle Palmieri (six goals, two assists), and defenseman Noah Dobson (no goals, six assists) have been keys to the Islanders’ success.
Semyon Varlamov stood on his head in Game Five, stopping 40 of 44 pucks sent his way. He should once again get the nod in Game Six, though if for some reason he can’t go, rookie Ilya Sorokin has been a capable backup throughout both the regular season and the playoffs.
On to the Pick
The Islanders have a significant advantage playing at home Wednesday night. New York was 21-4-3 at home in the regular season and is 4-1 at Nassau Coliseum in the playoffs. Working even more in the Islanders’ favor, New York is 6-0-0 at home against the Bruins this season. Boston’s last win against the Islanders in New York came on February 29, 2020.
Both teams will be desperate for a win while also cautious to avoid making the mistake that could end the season. Expect a low-scoring affair in this one, and trust the underdog Islanders to handle things at home, eliminating the Bruins and advancing to the semifinals for the second time in as many seasons.
FREE PICK: New York Islanders Moneyline (+114)