We took a loss with our most recent NHL pick from Saturday as the Golden Knights failed to win on the puckline, but rather beat the Ducks in overtime in what was a low-scoring 2-1 affair.
About the only thing that was going to give us an issue was a monster effort from goaltender John Gibson, and that’s just what took place. The Golden Knights out-shot the Ducks 33-22, out-chanced them a produced more high-danger scoring chances, but Gibson stood tall and kept his team in it, earning them the point in the OT defeat.
We’re into negative territory on the season, but we have plenty of time to go as we continue to evaluate the teams around the league in the season’s infancy.
Let’s turn our attention to today’s 10-game schedule and dive into the Bruins vs. Islanders from Long Island!
- Season Record: 4-5
- Units: -1.09
Bruins vs. Islanders Betting Odds
- Bruins (-134)
- Islanders (+121)
- Bruins -1.5 (+195)
- Islanders +1.5 (-225)
- Over 5.5 (+115)
- Under 5.5 (-127)
Bruins vs. Islanders NHL Pick Breakdown
It hasn’t exactly been an offensive outburst to begin the season for the Bruins as they’ve tallied just three goals across the first two games of the season, and it came against a Devils team that should likely be a bottom-10 defense when it’s all said and done.
It appears the team might be missing sniper David Pastrnak who shared the goal-scoring title last season with Alex Ovechkin a season ago. Pastrnak continues to rehab offseason hip surgery. In addition to his 48 goals, Pastrnak also tallied 47 assists and ranked third in NHL scoring a season ago.
Not helping matters for this one is the absence of fellow right winger Ondrej Kase who has already been ruled out with an upper-body injury. With the right wing picture paper-thin in Beantown, it appears Jake DeBrusk will play his off-wing in this one and Nick Ritchie will replace him as the team’s second-line left winger.
It certainly appears the trickle-down affect of the Pastrnak injury is taking its toll on this Bruins offense.
Not helping matters is the fact power play anchor Torey Krug was allowed to walk in free agency and signed with the Bruins. All due respect to Matt Grzelcyk, but he’s not Krug as the latter tied for the NHL lead among defenseman across the last four seasons with John Carlson with 107 power play points.
The Bruins are still a solid 2 for 7 on the man advantage, however, leaving them as one of the weaker 5v5 offenses we’ve seen in the early stages of the season, especially considering their only other goal came while shorthanded.
Of course, Krug isn’t the only household name that left Boston on the free agent market this winter as 14-year captain Zdeno Chara signed with the Washington Capitals after the Bruins notified the big man he would see a reduced role if he decided to return.
It hasn’t been a poor defensive start for the B’s at all, allowing just three regulation+overtime goals across the two-game set with the Devils, but their lack of offense saw them split the series with a team fully expected to finish in the bottom of the East division.
From a personnel standpoint, it’s a much different Bruins defense corps. Jeremy Lauzon is being thrust into a big roll alongside Charlie McAvoy on the team’s top pair while 2015 first-round pick Jakub Zboril appears to be a regular despite having played just four NHL games to this point. The 23-year-old spent all of last season with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence.
For a team that’s long been one of the superior defenses in the NHL, it will be interesting to see how the new-look blueline will fare. A couple of games against the low-scoring Devils produced some quality results, but it’s fair to ponder if the Bruins’ overall defensive numbers could regress this season.
It’s another year of the stout Tuukka Rask/Jaroslav Halak tandem in goal for the Bruins and the duo has been solid in the early going.
Rask won the season-opener in shootout while Halak took the 2-1 overtime loss yesterday afternoon. As a result, it’s Rask getting the nod in another early start (5 p.m. local) tonight as he looks to continue adding to his impressive resume.
The long-time Bruins puckstopper allowed two goals on 22 shots on Thursday (.909 Sv%), but was one of the better goaltenders in the NHL last season, working to a 2.12 GAA and .929 Sv%, the former ranking first in the NHL a season ago.
Rask was actually slightly better on the road last season where he posted a 2.09 GAA and .931 Sv% and has been fantastic in his career against the Islanders, posting a 1.88 GAA and 937 Sv%, going 17-5-1 across 24 career matchups against his new division rival.
It was a tale of two different Islanders teams in their season-opening two-game set with the rival Rangers last week.
The Islanders opened up their 2021 season with a bang, scoring three first-period goals and cruising to a 4-0 shutout win over the blueshirts on Thursday, However, the tables were turned on Saturday when it was the Rangers taking over, dealing the Isles a dose of their own medicine in a convincing 5-0 shutout victory themselves.
The Islanders scored two quick goals to open their season on Thursday, a somewhat surprising development considering their offensive issues a season ago. They’re a defense-first team, however the Islanders ranked 23rd on offense last season, however they were better at home where they ranked 14th at home compared to a share of 27th on the road.
Getting Mathew Barzal signed before the season started was crucial, and he’ll do much of the heavy lifting up front alongside the likes of Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, Anthony Beauvillier, Joshua Bailey and Brock Nelson in the top-six, however the Islanders are also going to look for offense from youngster Kieffer Bellows along with J.G. Pageau on the third group.
All that said, don’t be surprised to see this Islanders team struggle for consistent offense again this season.
Since Barry Trotz took over behind the bench prior to the 2018-19 season, the Islanders are the league’s third-ranked defense. That result comes despite the advanced metrics telling us they give up scoring chances and high-danger chances at a higher rate than almost every team in the league, but the end result is what matters at the end of the day.
Devon Toews was traded to the Avalanche due to salary cap constraints and Johnny Boychuk retired due to an eye injury suffered last season, but all six members of their current blueline played games for the club last season and the top four spent the entirety of the season together. In other words, there’s plenty of familiarity within this group.
Last season, the Islanders ranked ninth in overall defense, but also 15th on home ice. They finished the abbreviated regular season on a brutal note, losing seven in a row and allowing plenty of goals in the process, a fairly shocking turn of events considering their work prior to that stretch. They plummeted down the defensive rankings as a result.
With two very different results early this season, we’ll see how they rebound in this one tongiht.
Trotz wasn’t too happy with his team on Saturday even before the 5-0 loss as No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov was injured in warmup due to a high shot off his collarbone from veteran Cal Clutterbuck, forcing rookie backup Ilya Sorokin into his first NHL start with next to zero notice. Of course, Sorokin’s NHL career did not start on a positive note after some eye-popping numbers over the last five seasons in the KHL.
We don’t have a confirmed starter for the Isles as of yet, but reports suggest Varlamov will be ready to go for this one. Trotz said both he and Sorokin are available for tonight’s contest.
Varlamov’s work slipped along with his defense as the season moved along last season, finishing with a 2.62 GAA and .914 Sv% in his 45 games, numbers pretty much in line with his 2.67 GAA and .916 Sv% for his NHL career to this point.
I would suggest that it will indeed be Varlamov in this one, but we’ll know more closer to game time.
Bruins vs. Islanders NHL Pick
I noted earlier the Islanders ranked third in the NHL during Trotz’s first two seasons behind the bench. The second-best defense during that time is the Boston Bruins.
If you’re asking me if I think the Bruins’ defense will regress in some form or anything, I’d say yes. They’re younger and far more inexperienced and their depth has taken a major hit. That said, they’re not exactly going up against a high-octane offense in this matchup.
On the flip side, the stout defense of the Islanders is taking on a Bruins offense that has certainly not found its footing at 5v5 this season. staying out of the penalty box would be recommended, however failing to score an even-strength goal in two games against the Devils is a clear sign the offense just isn’t clicking in the early stages of the season.
There have certainly been some high-scoring games early in the NHL season as teams work on their structure after a short 10-day training camp and zero exhibition games, but I’m not sure this is going to be one of them.
These offenses have combined to score seven goals in four games. Given both have track records of excellent defensive results, I’ll simply look for the trend to continue a take the Under 5.5 from Long Island.