NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs Islanders (Saturday, March 2)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Bruins vs Islanders (Saturday, March 2) article feature image

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images). Pictured: David Pastrňák.

Bruins vs. Islanders Odds

Saturday, March 2
7:30 p.m. ET
Bruins Odds-125
Islanders Odds+105
Over / Under
-130o / +110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about the Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders on Saturday, March 2 – our expert NHL prediction and pick.

Boston is cruising toward a playoff berth, but the squad is going through something of a rough patch, so some caution might be warranted when assessing this game. With that in mind, let's preview the upcoming contest and offer a Bruins vs. Islanders prediction.

Boston Bruins

Boston has won just three of its past 10 games, which certainly isn't good, but it's not as bad as it sounds on the surface either. The Bruins took five of those seven losses to overtime and two of the defeats were decided by a shootout, so teams haven't exactly been blowing them out. In fact, Boston has recorded at least a point in each of its past seven contests.

Still, it's not ideal, and goaltending is partially to blame. Linus Ullmark — who will likely start Saturday because it's his turn in the rotation — has gone through a particularly rough stretch, losing each of his last three contests in extra time while stopping 81 of 92 shots (.880 save percentage). He's had a down season overall, posting a 16-6-6 record, 2.72 GAA and .912 save percentage through 29 outings. That's a far cry from his 1.89 GAA and .938 save percentage last year, but it's not terrible either.

Even with Ullmark taking a step back, Boston's offense is capable of keeping it in games. The Bruins are averaging 3.34 goals per game this year, ranking ninth in the league. David Pastrňák has been fantastic with 38 goals and 87 points in 61 contests, including two goals and five points over the past two contests. But he's doing it alone. Pastrňák's easily Boston's most effective forward, but Brad Marchand (26 goals, 53 points) and Charlie Coyle (21 goals, 50 points) are key components to one of the most dangerous lines out there.

Boston also has solid scoring depth with nine players who have reached double digits in goals compared to the league average of seven such skaters per team.

Even with Boston showing some weakness recently, there is plenty for the Islanders to be worried about here.

New York Islanders

New York has already suffered two losses at the hands of the Bruins this campaign. Ilya Sorokin was in net for both of those contests, allowing a combined eight goals on 68 shots (.882 save percentage). He's expected to start again Saturday but might have a similarly rough time, especially given his so-so performance this campaign. The 28-year-old has a 19-13-11 record, 3.11 GAA and .909 save percentage in 43 appearances this year.

Unlike Boston, the Islanders aren't well-equipped to bail their goaltender out when he struggles. The Islanders do have some capable forwards in Mathew Barzal (18 goals, 63 points), Bo Horvat (23 goals, 50 points) and Brock Nelson (27 goals, 48 points), as well as Noah Dobson, who is a top-tier offensive defenseman with seven goals and 61 points through 59 outings. However, just one other player has crossed even the 25-point milestone. The result is the Islanders average out to be a subpar scoring squad, tying for 21st with 2.95 goals per game.

The Islanders could also cause problems for Sorokin if they get into penalty trouble. Boston has the eighth-best power play (23.5%) while New York has the absolute worst penalty kill (71.4%). The silver lining is New York has taken just 186 minors, the eighth least, but the Islanders will also be going into the game knowing they can't afford to take any liberties given the differences between these two squad's special teams.

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Bruins vs. Islanders

Betting Pick & Prediction

Boston is being treated as the favorites on the moneyline, but not by a lot — certainly not as much as you might expect between two teams with a 20-point gap in their records. Boston's recent struggles might be a factor there, but as noted, while the Bruins haven't come out on top a lot lately, they have been at least competitive. The Islanders are also the home team, which does help them, though New York's 13-8-9 home record still trails Boston's 16-5-9 road record.

I don't feel comfortable enough taking the Bruins on the puck line, but I expect them to ultimately edge out New York. I think it's equally likely this game will exceed the Over 5.5 because of a combination of Boston's strong offense, the recent struggles of Ullmark and the mixed play of Sorokin.

My recommendation is to take the Over because, at the time of writing, that's the bet offering a better potential payout. If Boston on the moneyline changes to having a better possible return by the time you're reading this, then I would recommend considering that option instead.

Pick: Over 5.5 (-117 via BetRivers | Play to -130)

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