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Islanders vs. Bruins Odds & Pick: New York Holds Value as Underdog in Game 2 (Monday, May 31)

Islanders vs. Bruins Odds & Pick: New York Holds Value as Underdog in Game 2 (Monday, May 31) article feature image

Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Patrice Bergeron and Casey Cizikas.

  • After taking Game 1, the Bruins look to defend their home ice against the Islanders in Game 2.
  • Boston's "Perfection Line" was perfect in Game 1, dominating play in what actually was a closer game than the stats would indicate.
  • Pete Truszkowski breaks down where he sees betting value on Monday night, delivering his analysis and best bet for the game below.

Islanders vs. Bruins Odds

Islanders Odds+170
Bruins Odds-200
Over/Under5 (-130 / +105)
TimeMonday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday afternoon and via BetMGM.

The Boston Bruins entered their second-round series against the New York Islanders as prohibitive favorites, and they showed exactly why in Game 1 of this series.

Highlighted by a David Pastrnak hat trick, the Bruins were utterly dominant in their 5-2 win on Saturday night. In fact, the final score probably flatters the Islanders. 

However, despite the domination, the win is just one of a necessary four for the Bruins to advance. The Islanders have a veteran-laden team with playoff experience. Additionally, Barry Trotz is one of the league’s best coaches and we’ll be sure to see some adjustments from him and his team.

The question is whether New York’s changes will be enough. 

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Perfection Line Near Perfect

If you follow hockey to any extent, you probably know about the Bruins’ first line featuring Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Affectionately dubbed as “the perfection line” the trio has been outstanding for Boston at both ends of the ice for many seasons. 

Marchand is an uber-talented pest, Bergeron is one of the best two-way players in the sport and Pastrnak is one of the league’s most feared goalscorers. During the regular season, the trio played to an expected goal rate of 62% when together. Marchand posted 29 goals and 69 points, while Pastrnak and Bergeron each contributed 48 points. 

In Boston’s first-round win over the Washington Capitals, the trio combined for 13 points over the five games. However, in Saturday’s Game 1 win over the Islanders, the trio reached another level. This is how the game broke down when the Bruins' top line was on the ice at 5-on-5. 

Shot Attempts236
Scoring Chances164
High Danger Chances42
Expected Goals1.090.13

As you see, the Bruins were absolutely dominant with that line on the ice at 5-on-5. They only get credit for one goal at even strength, but Pastrnak scored an additional goal while Boston was on the power play and finished the hat trick while the Bruins were in the middle of a line change. For all intents and purposes, the trio scored three times and could have had much more.

Head coach Bruce Cassidy had the last line change and therefore controlled the matchups as the home team. He chose to mostly play Bergeron’s line against the Islanders’ line featuring Brock Nelson, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier. This line was the Isles’ most effective in the first round, but they posted just a 15.9% expected goal rate in Game 1.

So not only did the “perfection line” contribute three goals, they also shut down New York’s most dangerous group. 

Burning Questions for Isles

If the Isles’ lone problem in Game 1 was the play of Boston’s top line, one could feel more confident in their ability to rebound in Game 2. However, such was not the case. After a series win over the Penguins where the main differentiator was goaltending rather than anything the Isles did on the ice, things aren’t as rosy as when Tristan Jarry was in the other crease. 

Not only did the Bergeron line absolutely dominate the Isles, but so did most of the Bruins. Boston had three lines play to an expected goal rate of 86% or better. The Islanders had no player post an expected goal rate better than 50%. In fact, the team managed to generate just 0.79 expected goals at even strength. 

In Game 1, Boston had 66% of the shot attempts, 76% of the scoring chances, 86% of the high danger chances and 80% of the expected goals. While the Isles might take solace in the fact this was a tie game entering the final period and a one-goal game with four minutes left, they are well aware that they were thoroughly beaten down in Game 1. 

Ilya Sorokin got the start for New York after he won all four games for the Isles in round one. The rookie netminder kept the Isles within striking distance for most of the night, stopping 35 shots. None of the blame should go to Sorokin, who was the main reason the score was respectable for most of the night. 

However, he was beaten four times, struggled with rebound control at times, and the Isles have a veteran potential Vezina nominee on the bench. Semyon Varlamov was the Isles’ No. 1 goaltender throughout the season, but a combination of injury and shaky play let Sorokin take the reins this postseason. 

Trotz did not close the door on making a goaltender change for Game 2, which is something to watch. There’s no real difference between the two netminders. Varlamov posted a +2.7 goals saved above expectation during the season while Sorokin was at +2.5. Varlamov won five of six starts against Boston during the season, for whatever that’s worth. 

Trotz also hinted at a possible shakeup amongst his lines. If the Isles are going to make this a series, they are going to need a good series from Mathew Barzal. Barzal is the Isles’ most talented forward, but he has just one even strength point in these playoffs through seven games. He was invisible in the series opener, so one has to wonder if Trotz will move offensively challenged pest Leo Komarov off his wing and give Barzal a more offensive minded winger. 

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Islanders vs. Bruins Best Bet

After what we saw in Game 1, it’s no surprise the Bruins are once again prohibitive favorites at home in Game 2. 

The Islanders can’t possibly play much worse. Their top players were absolutely dominated by the Bruins’ stars. New York generated nothing at even strength offensively. The Isles could barely get through the neutral zone all night. 

Despite playing an atrocious, borderline non-competitive game, New York was in this game all night. It scored first and was tied at the second intermission. The Islanders had a power play with a chance to take the lead midway through the third period and were within one shot of tying the game until very late. 

Therein lies the beauty of the Islanders. They are willing to play ugly hockey, to defend, chip the puck out and survive another shift. They receive good goaltending and are usually good at generating high-danger chances off the counter attack.

No matter how poorly they play, it’s very rare the Isles are completely out of a game. 

With consideration towards the price, it has to be Islanders or nothing at this line. Laying over -200 on the moneyline isn’t a worthwhile investment in the NHL playoffs, especially against a team willing to win ugly. 

It might not be fun to watch, and there will likely be times during the game you regret placing your wager, but it’s the only way. Hope the Isles improve their play from Game 1 and hope some bounces go your way. I’d play the Isles at +160 or better. 

Pick: NY Islanders +170 (play at +160 or better)

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