Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders - 10/23/14
New York Islanders (4-2-0) at Boston Bruins (4-4-0)
NHL Hockey: Thursday
The Line: Boston Bruins -175 / New York Islanders +159 --- Over/Under: 5.5 See the Latest Odds
The New York Islanders are looking to bounce back after a poor showing on home ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. It was a good start for New York, scoring less than three minutes into the opening period on Nick Leddy’s third goal of the season. It was a pretty set up for Leddy who found himself open in the left slot and he was able to get the Islanders off to the early lead. After a strange bounce allowed the Maple Leafs to tie the game at 1-1 it was the captain John Tavares who banged home a rebound off the end boards with the Islanders on the power play to make it a 2-1 lead for New York. That’s pretty much where the positives ended for the Islanders who then watched as the Maple Leafs scored four times in the second period to cruise to a 5-2 victory. Jaroslav Halak has played well to start the year but there are still questions about whether or not he can be a true No. 1 goaltender for a playoff contending club. On Tuesday night Halak was getting beat with wrist shots from way out all night long. That’s not to say that the Islanders defense put up much resistance in this one but there were still a few goals that have to be stopped if you want to give your club a chance to win a hockey game. Tavares was disappointed with the effort from the team after the game and it’s understandable why. This looked far too familiar to the Islander teams we’ve seen in recent years that fold the tent for long stretches and just can’t get out of their own way. Heading into Boston won’t be an easy task but maybe it’s just what the Islanders need to make sure they don’t start to slip into a lull after their quick start to the season.
For the Boston Bruins it has been a bit of an up and down start to the year through the first eight games. A lot of reports out of Boston revolve around the shock many players felt when defenseman Johnny Boychuk was dealt to the Islanders just before the start of the season. Bruins players believe that they have a legitimate chance to win a Stanley Cup this season, and they felt that Boychuk was a big part of their club. While many can understand the business side of the game it’s much harder for players to accept a move that they feel makes them worse when they believe they have a chance to win now. No doubt Boychuk will be looking for some revenge against his old club in this one. After losing three straight games the Bruins have rebounded to take three of their last four games. Tuesday night they used a huge third period to rally from a goal down against the San Jose Sharks and pick up two points. The teams exchanged power play goals in the opening frame and after Torey Krug scored with the man advantage to give the Bruins the lead in the second, it was two quick defensive mistakes that looked like they could be very costly. San Jose scored twice just 37 seconds apart late in the period to take a 3-2 lead with them into the third. In the final period the Bruins fought back with Seth Griffin scoring his first National Hockey League goal to tie the game and Gregory Campbell scoring the game winner at 10:42. David Krejci would later add an empty net goal to seal the game with the Bruins short handed. Tuukka Rask wasn’t brilliant but he did make 31 saves in the 5-3 win.
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Boston is a heavy favorite in this game and while they deserve to be a favorite I’m not sure they’re worth it at that price. New York has looked good this year but Tuesday’s effort wasn’t encouraging and this is going to be a step up in class. The Islanders are pesky and can pot some goals but their defense will be challenged by a big and physical group of Boston forwards.