Tale of the Tape
BOS 11-2-2 NYI 8-10-1
Goals For: BOS 2.87 NYI 2.90
Goals Against: BOS 2.20 NYI 3.37
Special Teams BOS: PP 14.9%(23rd) PK 94.8%(1st)
Special Teams NYI: PP 24.4% (5th) PK 84.1% (9th)
Bruins Road Record 7-1-1
Islanders Home Record 2-7-0
Season Series: 1-0 Boston (4-2 January 25th)
Currently Riding: BOS 3W NYI 1L
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - Brad Boyes
Josh Bailey - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Michael Grabner - Marty Reasoner - David Ullstrom
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Colin McDonald
Travis Hamonic - Andrew MacDonald
Thomas Hickey - Lubomir Visnovsky
Mark Streit - Radek Martinek
Coming off a disappointing loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, the Islanders are looking to get back on track, well, find a track to get back on to, against the Bruins.
The Bruins haven’t been friendly to the Islanders in recent history, boasting a 6-3-0 record over the past three seasons, including a 4-2 victory on January 25th that saw the Islanders blow a 2-1 lead midway through the second period and had the Bruins notch two more unanswered tallies in the third.
Despite the up and down play of the Islanders they only sit two points behind the 8th place Lightning in the Eastern Conference and it’s games like these that they need to try and steal two points. It’s not going to be easy against a Bruins team that is only three points back of the Eastern Conference lead, with four games in hand. The Islanders need to find a way to be consistent at every position and really force the Bruins to create plays, rather than have plays handed to them.
1.Continue To Block shots: The Islanders are 10th in the league in blocked shots with 281 and with questionable goaltending each night this is a must-do to give yourself a chance to win.
2.Be Physical: Sitting 21st in the league in hits, the Isles need to take the body, particularly on Tyler Seguin. I’m not talking about getting into a brawl against Boston, because they’re not the team to be doing it against, but the hits have to come up in this game.
3.Manage Turnovers: The Isles are 3rd in giveaways so puck control has to be of the utmost importance against a skilled unit like the Bruins. The Isles also boast the 6th best mark on takeaways so if the giveaways come down they should be able to generate some success off of turnovers.
When you are not the most skilled team in the game, and you’re playing the Bruins, you have to take the body every chance you get, you have to get in lanes and steer shots away from your goaltender and you have to control the puck when you have it. The Bruins are like wolves, if they sense you’re intimidated they will feed off it and attack. Getting a stick or body in front of Brad Marchand every time he shoots will be important, just as important as keeping a man on Tyler Seguin and keeping him on the outside.
With the Bruins PK playing at a level from another planet we have to assume that the Isles PP isn’t going to generate much in this one. The perilous 5-on-5 is going to have to be where the damage is done and it will most likely rest on the shoulders on John Tavares again. Head Coach Jack Capuano will need to get his match-ups right tonight and keep JT away from Zdeno Chara as much as possible, even if it means double shifting certain lines to contribute to the game of dodge-the-giant.
Match-ups and the three keys will be how this game is kept within reach for the Islanders. This game shouldn’t be a blowout like most people would believe. The Isles have been in the majority of the games they’ve lost and a few of those games were biblical breakdowns after having a lead.
Thanks for reading, you can find me on twitter @chiassontb during the game tonight if you want to chat.