No. 3 Bruins at No. 4 Islanders
7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS
New York leads best-of-7 series, 3-2
The New York Islanders can advance to the Stanley Cup Semifinals with a win against the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Second Round at Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday.
New York has won the past two games, including a 5-4 victory in Game 5 on Monday, to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. With one more win, the Islanders will play the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final, which the Lightning won in six games.
The Lightning advanced to the semifinals with a 4-1 win in Game 5 of the second round against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.
“It’s going to be an intense game,” Islanders center Brock Nelson said. “Whenever you’re trying to close a team out, they’re going to come with their best. So you’ve got to raise your level, come with a better game, best one of the series.”
The Bruins need a win to force Game 7 in Boston on Friday. They were in the same situation heading into Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at the St. Louis Blues and were able to extend that series before losing in Game 7.
“You’ve got to stay in the moment, first and foremost,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “You can’t sort of get nervous or go through the what-if scenarios. I know it sounds cliché, but you prepare to win, to play the right way. You take it one shift at a time, one period at a time. You reset if something goes wrong and build on the good things.”
Here are 3 Keys for Game 6:
1. Rask rebound
Goalie Tuukka Rask will start for the Bruins after being replaced by rookie Jeremy Swayman to start the third period in Game 5. Rask has been playing through what Cassidy called “nagging” injuries, but Cassidy said Rask is ready.
Rask needs to play better than he did Monday, when he allowed four goals on 16 shots in the first two periods. The Bruins also need to cut down the number of breakdowns in front of their goalie.
2. Fix the penalty kill
The Islanders are 6-for-15 (40.0 percent) on the power play in the series, 3-for-4 in Game 5. The Bruins were second in the NHL during the regular season on the penalty kill at 86.0 percent and killed 18 of 21 power plays (85.7 percent) in the first round against the Washington Capitals.
But Boston is missing two of its best penalty killing defensemen. Kevan Miller sustained an undisclosed injury in Game 4 against Washington and Brandon Carlo sustained an undisclosed injury in Game 3 against New York.
“We just have to continue to focus on the details,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “It just seems like every time we miss a little detail out there, they capitalize on it. But they have a lot of talent on their power play and they’re going to make plays. So a couple things we’re going to look to clean up.”
3. Cleaner breakouts
The Islanders struggled getting the puck out of their end and through the neutral zone against the Bruins forecheck in the first and third periods of Game 5. As a result, Boston had a 25-11 advantage in shot attempts in the first period and a 28-6 advantage in shot attempts in the third.
New York needs to be more efficient moving the puck up the ice against Boston’s pressure Wednesday.
“You’ve got to just keep it simple early and have a real good pace to your game, make good decisions,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “And if you do that, then you’re usually in a lot better shape than we were.”
Bruins projected lineup
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall — David Krejci — Craig Smith
Jake DeBrusk — Charlie Coyle — Karson Kuhlman
Nick Ritchie — Sean Kuraly — Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly — Jeremy Lauzon
Jarred Tinordi — Connor Clifton
Scratched: Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Cameron Hughes, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Jack Ahcan, Urho Vaakanainen, Nick Wolff, Callum Booth, Jaroslav Halak, Dan Vladar
Injured: Curtis Lazar (lower body), Ondrej Kase (upper body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Brandon Carlo (undisclosed), Steven Kampfer (hand), Kevan Miller (undisclosed)
Islanders projected lineup
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Travis Zajac
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Scratched: Cole Bardreau, Kieffer Bellows, Austin Czarnik, Anatoli Golyshev, Simon Holmstrom, Ross Johnston, Otto Koivula, Dmytro Timashov, Sebastian Aho, Samuel Bolduc, Braydon Coburn, Thomas Hickey, Grant Hutton, Bode Wilde, Ken Appleby, Cory Schneider
Injured: Michael Dal Colle (undisclosed), Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body)
With Lazar out after the forward was injured in Game 5, Kuraly shifts to center on the fourth line and DeBrusk returns after being a healthy scratch in Game 5. … Lazar, Miller and Carlo did not make the trip to New York. … Wahlstrom will miss his seventh consecutive game. There is no timetable for the forward to return.