The New York Islanders face the Boston Bruins tonight, in their third game of the season. Recently, I’ve been looking at how the Islanders’ roster compares to other teams in the East Division and today, I’ll be comparing the Islanders and Bruins rosters.
Note: We’ve already released four articles in this series, which you can read here:
The Bruins are currently without potentially their top forward, David Pastrnak. That said, Brad Marchand is consistently able to sustain a 100-point pace, while Patrice Bergeron is still capable of point-per-game numbers. David Krejci is still a quality top-six forward as well, while Charlie Coyle, Jake DeBrusk, Ondrej Kase, Nick Ritchie and offseason addition Craig Smith will provide depth scoring. Even without Pastrnak, Bergeron and Marchand are still capable of producing at a very high level and once Pastrnak does come back, the Bruins have one of the most dominant top lines in hockey.
Despite losing Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, the Bruins still look solid on the back end. Charlie McAvoy has already emerged as Boston’s top defender, while Brandon Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk are strong defensively. Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril don’t have a ton of NHL experience but the Islanders have a similar situation with Noah Dobson, who hasn’t been overly reliable in his own end. Connor Clifton, Kevan Miller and John Moore also make more very solid depth. The Bruins are in a similar situation as the Islanders, with a reliable group of defenders, with a top defender who can both defend and provide offense. Each group is an asset for their team and the defense groups should be fairly evenly matched.
The Bruins had one of the best goaltending tandems in the league last season, with Tuukka Rask posting a .929 save percentage and Jaroslav Halak managing a .919 save percentage himself. While Semyon Varlamov is reliable for the Islanders and started the season with a shutout and Ilya Sorokin should adjust to the NHL over the coming months, right now, the Bruins have the better tandem. It’s not a huge difference but Boston can likely expect a bit more from their goaltenders.
The Bruins are probably the frontrunner to take the East Division right now. There will be a cluster of teams in the division fighting for placement but the Bruins are arguably a step ahead.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think the Islanders will finish ahead of the Bruins in the standings this season?