It is the opening contest of the division finals between the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins on Saturday. New York knocked off Pittsburgh in six to advance, while Boston dispatched Washington and five.
Here you can find the best picks, news, and stats for this East Division battle at TD Garden. Boston is the favorite at -182. This according to PointsBet Sportsbook, which puts New York at +160 as the underdog.
The Islanders will be without Johnny Boychuk and Anders Lee. Oliver Wahlstrom is listed as doubtful and Michael Dal Colle is listed as questionable. Boston will be without John Moore, Steven Kampfer, and Ondrej Kase. Jeremy Lauzon, Kevan Miller, and Jakub Zboril are all listed as questionable.
Islanders Finish Off Pittsburgh with 5-3 Victory
Five goals in the first two periods proved to be too much for Pittsburgh, as the New York Islanders advanced with a 5-3 victory. Brock Nelson scored two goals and added an assist and Anthony Beauvillier had a goal and two assists to help the Islanders to victory. Ilya Sorokin stopped 34 shots.
New York is averaging 3.50 goals per game in the playoffs, and are connecting on 11.2% of their shots, third overall. The power-play has been solid at 18.8%. Beauvillier and Jean-Gabriel Pageau lead the Islanders in scoring during the playoffs with seven points each. Josh Bailey and Nelson each have six points, and the two are tied for the team-lead in goals with three.
New York is allowing 2.67 goals per game and is killing off 75% of power-play opportunities. Sorokin will likely be the guy in the net going forward. He has a 1.95 GAA and a .943 save percentage, winning all four of his playoff appearances.
Boston Knocks Off Washington in Five
The Boston Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals on Sunday, 3-1. Patrice Bergeron scored two goals to provide the margin of victory and Tuukka Rask stopped 40 of 41 shots.
Boston is sixth in goals per game at 3.20 and is sixth in shooting percentage at 9.3%. The power-play is connecting on 26.3% of their opportunities in the postseason. In the playoffs, the Boston offense has been led by David Pastrnak with six points. Charlie McAvoy is second with five points, all assists.
Boston is allowing 2.00 goals per game and they have been great killing penalties, 85.7%, fourth overall. Rask will be the guy, posting a 1.81 GAA and a .941 save percentage in five postseason games this year.
- 4-1 in their last five games on a Saturday.
- 4-1 in their last five games when playing on two day’s rest.
- 0-4 in their last four games when playing on three or more days rest.
Six days between games is simply too many. This is a major issue for playoff teams in the NHL who have to sit for a long time, and I expect Boston to come out and struggle early on. That is going to allow New York to steal a game, which way will do. Look for New York to take home-ice advantage away right off.
Pick: Take New York at +160.
I think a rusty Boston team is also going to lead to a high-scoring affair. It isn’t going to be ridiculously high-scoring, but these teams are going to put up some goals as Boston is desperate to try to get back into the game and will take some chances that will create scoring opportunities against them as well.
Pick: Go over 5.0 at -135.