Bruins Are 'Nifty' Choice Over Islanders Thursday

Jimmy Murphy

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 7:12 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 7:12 PM UTC

On a night when they honor one of their best all-time scorers, Rick "Nifty" Middleton and retire his No. 16, the battered Bruins will get nifty themselves and beat the visiting Islanders Thursday.

Murphy: 32-29-2

N.Y. Islanders (12-9-2, 12-11 ATS) at Boston (13-7-4, 13-11 ATS)Thursday, 7 p.m. ETFree NHL Picks: Bruins ML & UnderBest Lines Offered: SportsBetting

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For the month of November, the Boston Bruins have been a skating mash unit, playing much of the month with only 1-2 of their regular defensemen and then over the last two weeks, playing without arguably their two most important players in captain Zdeno Chara and star forward and alternate captain Patrice Bergeron.

On Wednesday, they found out, they’ll be missing another defenseman in gritty Kevan Miller who is out at least 5 weeks with a cartilage injury to his larynx. Somehow, the B’s have stayed in a playoff spot and within striking distance of first place Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division and gone 5-3-2 in their last 10 games.

They’ve done so buying into head coach Bruce Cassidy’s system, which with all these injuries, has become a more conservative and yet opportunistic one. Despite a valiant effort in Toronto Monday, that system couldn’t muster up their third straight win. However, through the this injury-riddled month, the Bruins are yet to lose more than 2-straight and have only lost 3-straight once all season. That will remain true Thursday as the crafty Bruins will also get nifty on a night when they honor one of their all-time greats and retire the No. 6 of Rick "Nifty" Middleton.

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No. 1️⃣6️⃣ heads to the rafters in just two days.

Here are 16 things to know about the career of Rick 'Nifty' Middleton: https://t.co/FhqvRilkfM

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 27, 2018
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The Islanders will be another tough opponent though and just as the Bruins have with Cassidy, the Isles have bought into the more defensive system of new head coach Barry Trotz, who helped the Washington Capitals finally find their two-way game and win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history last season. Trotz’s winning attitude has rubbed off on an Islanders squad whose record isn’t spectacular by any means but is better than many expected to this point. New York has also been the beneficiary of a very solid season from goalie Thomas Greiss as he settles the Isles crease and helps potential star goalie Robin Lehner find his game. Greiss’ goaltending, the Bruins’ solid goalie tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaro Halak and both teams executing their two-way games, will help this game go under.

The Bruins are 13-11 against the spread and a splendid 8-2 at home. Boston has scored 67 goals and allowed 59. They’re 7-16-1 on the over/under and 3-6-1 at home. The B’s are 13-11 on the puck line and 7-3 at home.

Forward David Pastrnak leads the Bruins and the NHL in goals with 19 and leads his team in points with 28. The injured Bergeron and Brad Marchand are tied for team lead in assists with 17 helpers each.

The Islanders are 12-11 against the spread and 6-6 on the road. New York has scored 72 goals and allowed 68. They’re 10-11-2 on the over/under and 5-5-2 on the road. The Isles are 13-10 on the puck line and 6-6 on the road.

Josh Bailey leads the Islanders in points with 21. 2018 Calder Trophy winner Mathew Barzal leads the team in assists with 17 helpers and Brock Nelson has a team-leading 9 goals.

Goaltending Matchup
  • For the Islanders, Greiss is 8-4-0-1 with a 2.45 GAA and .925 save percentage.
  • Lehner is 4-5-0-1 with a 3.00 GAA and .906.
  • For the Bruins, Rask is 5-4-0-2 with a 2.72 GAA and .913 save percentage.
  • Halak is 8-3-0-2 with a 2.06 GAA and .936 save percentage.
M*A*S*H Report
  • For the Islanders, Andrew Ladd is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
  • For the Bruins, in addition to Miller being out five weeks, Chara (knee) and Bergeron (shoulder) are out for the next 3-4 weeks. Defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Urho Vaakanainen are nearing returns and day-to-day with concussions. Defenseman Brandon Carlo is day-to-day with an upper-body injury but could play Thursday night.

Prediction: Bruins 3, Islanders 2

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