The Boston Bruins and New York Islanders will face off for Game 4 of their best of seven series on Saturday, June 7 at 7:15 pm EST. The Bruins are looking to snag a second straight win and take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. The Islanders are hoping to regain their momentum and even out the series at two games each. Whatever the final score, the game should be exciting to watch. Here is a look at some of the storylines entering the matchup.
Top Lines Shining for Boston
The Boston Bruins first line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, has earned the nickname “perfection line” from various news outlets and announcers. Perfection is a very strong descriptor, but their success thus far in the playoffs does lend some truth to the nickname. In three games against the Islanders, Pastrnak has scored a hattrick and recorded an assist. Bergeron has one goal and three assists. Marchand has two assists and two goals, including the overtime game-winner from game three.
The David Krejci, Taylor Hall and Craig Smith second line has also been heating up. Against New York, Krejci has three assists, Hall has a goal and an assist and Smith has a goal. Smith’s ice time has not gone up against New York, but both Hall and Krejci have seen increased ice time. The addition of the second line to the offensive production of the first line has been and will continue to be important for the Bruins.
Defensively, Boston’s top-paring of Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk has been crucial. In games two and three against New York, McAvoy played for nearly 30 minutes. Grzelcyk averaged around 20 minutes, less than McAvoy but still more than the average player. The Bruins have been relying on McAvoy and Grzelcyk to make important defensive plays and shutdown the Islanders offense. The pair have also contributed on offense, with Grzelcyk recording an assist and McAvoy recording a goal and an assist.
It is always important to have star players performing well, but especially during the playoffs. If the Bruins are able to keep their top players healthy and performing, they have a good shot at beating the Islanders and taking a 3-1 series lead.
Depth For the Islanders
The Islanders are a good all around team. While their games are not always the most high-scoring, they have plenty of good components and make for exciting hockey. Flashy goals from Matthew Barzal, defense from Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock and goaltending from Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlomov are all important aspects of the game. Against the Bruins, the Islanders have been drawing strength from across their lineup.
The Islanders third line of Kyle Palmieri, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Travis Zajac has been effective in limiting production from the Bruins top line. While Boston’s first line has scored and been important offensively in the series, the Islanders third line has limited the damage, especially in five-on-five play. This line has also produced offensively. Palmieri has a goal and two assists and Pageau has a goal and an assist.
The Islanders second line has also been productive in the series against the Bruins. Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey are among the top offensive performers for the Islanders this postseason. Against Boston, Beauvillier has a goal and an assist, Bailey has a goal and Nelson has an assist. In game three, Beauvillier had multiple breakaway opportunities. While he was unable to score, his chances demonstrate the offensive impact that this line has had for the Islanders.
The fourth line of Matt Martin, Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas has been successful against Boston. The line has provided physicality and pressure to the Bruins. Cizikas has made his mark by scoring the overtime game winner in game two.
The Islanders top line of Matthew Barzal, Leo Komarov and Jordan Eberle has been important in the series, but has room to improve. This line does generate solid chances and produce goals, but there is too much pretty passing. If the top line can start producing more they will add an important component to the offensive depth of the team. This depth will help the Islanders stay fresh against the Bruins as the series stretches on as they will not have to over rely on any specific players.