Tue, Mar 9, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
It’s never too early to think about playoff races in the NHL, especially when the game involves a heated division rivalry in the East. The Boston Bruins (13-6-3, 3rd place) visit the New York Islanders (15-6-4, 1st place) at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York Tuesday night. The puck drops at 7 pm.
Tonight’s contest is the fourth of eight meetings during the regular-season between longtime division rivals and the Islanders won the first three meetings by a combined score of 12-4. New York is red hot right now, coming in winners of five straight games by a combined score of 19-7.
During their five-game win streak, the Islanders recorded a shutout and allowed no more than two goals in any single game. On top of it all, the Islanders have scored five goals in each of their last three games played (three wins against the Buffalo Sabres).
New York is holding onto a two-point lead in the East over the second-place Washington Capitals. The Boston Bruins are sitting in third place, just five points behind New York for first. Tonight’s game can help New York extend its lead or help Boston climb closer to the top of the division standings.
The Islanders have played to a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games, catapulting them to sole possession of first in the East. The Islanders offense is red-hot, scoring 3.5 goals per game during that stretch. The defense has been just as strong, allowing just 2.1 goals per game.
New York does not have any players listed on the daily injury report and will be at full strength for tonight’s contest.
After starting the season 8-3, the Bruins haven’t been able to get on an extended win streak, playing up and down over the past few weeks. Despite this, the Bruins have been able to remain in third place, just a handful of points from the top of the East Division.
Boston has struggled in its last 10 games played, posting a 4-5-1 record, allowing an average of 2.7 goals per game, while scoring an average of 2.6 goals per game.
The Bruins are dealing with a slew of injuries right now and will be without Jeremy Lauzon (hand injury) and Brandon Carlo (head injury). Ondrej Kase has been listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
A win tonight for Boston in regulation would give them two points and break their tie with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the standings. A win would also keep Boston in third place in the division.
Both teams are led on offense this year by 12-goal scorers; Brad Marchand for Boston and Anders Lee for New York. Offense will be the name of the game tonight as both teams are averaging close to three goals per game on offense for the season.
The over-under is set at 5.5 goals. With the outpouring of offense between these two teams recently, taking the Over 5.5 is the best bet in this exciting East Division contest.