( Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images )

By: Ryan Duffy | Follow Me On Twitter @Rduffy26

With the Boston Bruins’ regular season concluding on April 13th against the Montreal Canadiens, Boston is set to make their seventh straight appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Bruins have already clinched a playoff position and will likely finish as the first-place team in the NHL with a home-ice advantage in the playoffs. Multiple teams have already solidified their ranks within the standings and know who they will be playing in the first round. On the other hand, numerous teams are fighting for a final wild card position in the standings, including the New York Islanders (82 points), Pittsburgh Penguins (80 points), and Florida Panthers (79 points).

While all three of these teams can be dangerous in the playoffs, the New York Islanders have recent history with the Bruins and could be an issue for Boston in the first round. In the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders met in the semi-finals in a heated series. The Islanders at the time were coming off losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the conference finals during the 2020 playoffs. Under former head coach Barry Trotz, the Islanders were a highly touted defensive team that was ruthless on the forecheck.

In the series against the Islanders in 2021, the Bruins ran into a hot goaltender in Semyon Varlamov and a team that bought into a defense-first mindset. Despite the Bruins having home ice and dominating game one, winning 5-2 with David Pastrnak recording his second career playoff hattrick, Boston fell to New York in six games. The Islanders would again lose in the conference final to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games that year. Even without Barry Trotz behind the bench, the Islanders are no different this year as a defensive team. They are riding the back of Ilya Sorokin, who is having a Vezina Trophy-caliber season.

Sorokin has been the backbone of this team since game one of the regular season. The Russian net-minder leads all goaltenders with at least 50 games played this season with a .925 save percentage and goals against average of 2.36. While Linus Ullmark is the clear front-runner for the Vezina Trophy to this point of the season, Sorokin makes an excellent case for himself, considering how well he has played through over 50 games.

The Islanders, in recent years, haven’t been a high-scoring team, but general manager Lou Lamoriello went out and added Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks ahead of the trade deadline. While Horvat’s offensive production has somewhat dropped off, he has meshed well with the team and given them some much-needed depth down the middle. The Islanders have been one of the hottest teams of late, as they’re 7-2-1 in their last ten games. They’re on a three-game winning streak and have outscored their opposition 17-6.

This Islanders team has struggled to stay healthy throughout this season, which may have impacted where this team has landed in the standings. Key players like Adam Pelech, Mathew Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kyle Palmieri, and J-G Pageau have been in and out of the lineup throughout this year. Matt Barzal and Oliver Wahlstrom are expected to return before the end of the regular season.

The Bruins have had their way with the Islanders this season as they went 3-0 versus New York this year and outscored them 16-4 through the three games. In a seven games series against this team, they won’t go down as easily as they did in the regular season. As most fans know, the playoffs are a different animal as the pace of play and physicality picks up. While this Islanders team hasn’t necessarily shocked anyone this year, this team certainly can upset teams and win multiple series in the playoffs.