By: Nathan Anderson | Follow me on Twitter @ndrsn27
After a dominant series win in the first round over the Washington Capitals, the Boston Bruins will take on the New York Islanders in the East Division finals. It should be a tough series for the Bruins, who struggled against the Islanders for most of the season until their trade deadline acquisitions in April. As I mentioned in my first simulation write-up, I plan on following this run all the way to the cup if the B’s can take it that far. With that being said, let’s get into game one of the East division finals.
The key to any hockey game is to get off to a good start. One team in this simulation did just that, but it wasn’t the team I was hoping for. The Islanders scored twice in the first minute of the game to take a 2-0 lead early. Immediately off the opening faceoff, the Isles broke into the offensive zone, and Anders Lee found some open space on the left side of the slot. Jordan Eberle found him to open up the scoring just 37 seconds in.
Following the next faceoff, Lee dumped the puck in, and Eberle retrieved it in the right corner. He cut in front of the net and fed Anders Lee again to make it 2-0 Islanders. That wasn’t all the action, though, as Patrice Bergeron cut the lead to 2-1 only 23 seconds later. With 18:20 left in the first period, the game had already seen three goals.
The action slowed down a bit from there, but with about three minutes left, the Islanders struck again. This time it wasn’t Anders Lee, but the young sniper Oliver Wahlstrom who beat Tuukka Rask. The Islanders’ trade deadline acquisition Kyle Palmieri did some hard work to set up the youngster, who tapped it into an open net as Rask couldn’t get across his crease. That concluded a wild first period, which would be a startling way to start the series if it were to happen in real life.
Tasked with coming back from a shocking first period, the Bruins needed to take control of the game early in the second. They were unable to do that, though, as they gave up a shorthanded goal to Casey Cizikas less than five minutes in. David Krejci scored later on that power-play to make it 4-2, but it was not the way the B’s were hoping to start the second.
Jordan Eberle, who already had assisted Anders Lee’s two goals, got himself in the goal column a few minutes later after winning a puck battle in the corner. Off the very next faceoff, Anders Lee battled through the slot and tucked the puck past Rask to complete his hat trick. This was when I realized the game was getting away from the Bruins in this simulation. Two goals in less than thirty seconds that both resulted from the Bruins just getting outworked.
That wasn’t even the last action of the second period, though, as J.G. Pageau put home a rebound about halfway through the period. That made it 7-2 Islanders only halfway through the game. Taylor Hall thought he had a goal near the end of the period, but it got disallowed by a questionable goaltender interference call.
There would be no immaculate comeback from the Bruins in the third period, unfortunately. Chris Wagner scored to make it 7-3, but Matthew Barzal scored late in the period to increase the lead to 8-3. I think all Bruins fans would say this is not the start we want to see from our beloved Black and Gold, but the B’s lost game one last round and won the next four.
Final Score: NYI 8 – BOS 3
This is just a simulation at the end of the day, and who knows how NHL 21 programs this stuff, so anything can happen! I feel confident in this Bruins team, especially after beating Washington in five games, mostly without ever really reaching their peak. Game one is Saturday, May 29 at 8:00 pm on NBC.