NHL Playoffs 2021 Series Preview: Bruins vs. Islanders

Tonight the first second round series of the 2021 NHL Playoffs for the East Division Finals between the Boston Bruins and New York Islanders. 

To get to the second round of these playoffs, the Bruins’s beat Ovi and the Washington Capitals in 5 games, losing Game 1 in Washington and then winning four straight to easily cash my Bruins to win the series bet. I had the Penguins beating the Islanders which obviously lost but the Isles impressed me as they got some luck to go their way and played awesome defense backstopped by Ilya Sorokin as the Isles upset Sidney Crosby and his Pens in 6 games.

During the regular season these two teams matched up well with a wide range of how games played out. The Isles had the Bruins number earlier in the season as they won the first five games these teams faced off against each other in, including a 1-0 shut out to start the season series and a huge 7-2 win. The series flipped though as the B’s won the last three games these teams played. Three of the eight games these teams played need more than 60 minutes to decide them, with the Isles winning a shootout and an OT game and the Bruins ending the season with an overtime winner. Besides the three OT games and the 1-0 shutout for the Isles in the first game these teams played in, the other four games were decided by multiple goals. 

Statistically these teams match up pretty well, with the Isles slightly better defensively (2.23 GA per game vs. 2.39 for Boston). The Bruins are no slouch defensively either though and Tuukka Rask is a top five goalie in the NHL in my eyes. The B’s are slightly better offensively, with a 2.93 GF per game vs. New York’s 2.71 and the Bruins generate an average of 33.3 shots per game where the Isles only average 29.

I think the Bruins are a monster in the playoffs and win this series. With how closely these teams played in the regular season though, I think the line on the Bruins to win this series at -230 is too expensive. I already have Bruins to win the East from before the playoffs started at +180 for 2 units, so I’m just letting that ride on this series to win 3.6 units. I also have both of these teams from earlier this year on them to win the Cup so that sort of hedges itself.

This is a series I’ll be looking at betting unders in if I could get 5.5’s at a decent price, since I’m guessing like in Game 1, most of the over/unders on this series will be set at 5. During the regular season, over/under 5 was 3-3-2 in the eight games they played. In the first round series between the Bruins and Caps under 5 was 1-1-3, while in Islanders/Penguins, which had the OU set to 5 for most games, the over was 3-1-2. I’d credit those games to going over more on Tristan Jarry being complete garbage in goal for the Penguins, which is the reason we find the Islanders in the East Finals to begin with. That extra half point makes a big difference since it’s a push instead of a win when the game is 2-2 going to overtime or an empty net goal makes it 4-1, so I’ll likely be buying the unders up to 5.5 when the price isn’t too high on them.

For Game 1, I’m going with the B’s ML for a unit since I think they win the series and taking the alternate under 5.5 for a unit as well. 

Open Futures: 

1u Stanley Cup Champions: New York Islanders (+1300)

1.5u Stanley Cup Champions: Boston Bruins (+900)

2u East Division Champions: Boston Bruins (+180)

Game 1 Bets:

1u Bruins ML (-186)

1u Bruins/Islanders under 5.5 (-165)

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