The Bruins have lost their home-ice advantage after dropping Game 5 to the Islanders and now face a must-win Game 6 if they are to keep this series alive. Let’s analyze this Wednesday night matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!
Boston Bruins vs. New York Islanders
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 – 7:30 PM EDT at Veterans Memorial Coliseum
The Bruins dropped a pivotal Game 5 at the Garden and Boston’s head coach, Bruce Cassidy, stated the 5-4 loss had more to do with poor officiating than sloppy play by his team.
“I think they sell a narrative over there that it’s more like the New York Saints, not the New York Islanders," he said. “They play hard and they play the right way, but I feel we’re the same way. The calls, the exact calls that are getting called on us do not get called on them — and I don’t know why.
“Maybe we need to sell them more, flop, but that’s not us,” Cassidy said. "It's not like I’m sitting there going, ‘Every call against us sucks.’ It’s not true. It’s just the end of the day, the similar plays — they need to be penalized on those plays.
“They play hard, hard brand of hockey. Love the way they play. But they commit as many infractions as we do — trust me. It’s just a matter of calling ’em.”
That soliloquy cost Cassidy $25,000 but if it rings true to any of the refs working Wednesday night’s game then it might have been worth it. Boston had double the penalty minutes as New York in Game 5 and it manifested in three Islanders’ power-play goals.
Isles Livin’ large and In Charge
The Islanders might have watched a three-goal lead evaporate into a one-goal game but they held on for the pivotal 5-4 victory to take a 3-2 series advantage. Now they return home to Nassau where they have defeated the Bruins in five of six contests dating back to the regular season. The only time the Isles have lost to the B’s at home was in Game 3 when they dropped a 2-1 overtime decision. However, New York avenged that loss in Game 4 with a dominating 4-1 victory.
Despite getting outshot, 44-19, in Game 5 the Islanders’ power-play unit took full advantage by netting three goals in four man-advantage opportunities. “At the end of the day, there’s only one stat you count,” said Islanders head coach, Barry Trotz. “It’s not the shots; it’s the score clock.”
Mathew Barzal has become a force of late and Monday night’s game was more of the same as he scored one of the three power-play goals and assisted on another.
Wanna Make a Bet?
I have to confess I was taken aback when I perused the NHL odds at all of the best online sportsbooks and realized the Bruins were being installed as fairly sizeable favorites. After all, isn’t it the Islanders that have owned the Bruins this season at the Nassau Coliseum? And isn’t it true that Boston goalie, Tuukka Rask, has been having back issues, so much so that he was pulled from Monday night’s game after allowing his fourth goal?
It wouldn’t surprise me if Bruce Cassidy elected to give the kid, Jeremy Swayman, the start in net as a potential spark to light this team up while also serving to give Rask some time to rest for a possible Game 7 in Boston. Either way, a rookie in net or a hobbled veteran doesn’t bode well for Boston.
We should also point out that the B’s defense has been lackluster, with the notable exception of Charlie McAvoy, and allowing the Isles to roam unencumbered in front of the net has cost them on more than one occasion. New York’s goals seem to come much easier while Boston’s tallies are more often the impossible shot finding the tiny window.
I am going to back the home dog here because I believe the oddsmakers have the wrong favorite in this one. Back the Isles plus the juice on Wednesday night!
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.