Islanders forward Mat Barzal has yet to score a goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has three assists, but the Islanders are going to need more from him and the entire top line in round two against the Boston Bruins. Jordan Eberle has two goals and three assists while Leo Komarov has two assists and while the Islanders found a way to get past the Pittsburgh Penguins in round one, the second round did not get off to a good start with a 5-2 loss to the Bruins in game one on Saturday night. Heading into game two on Monday night in Boston (8pm NBCSN), it’s clear that the Islanders will have a hard time winning this series if they don’t get more production from Barzal and company.
“It will be difficult,” said Islanders Head Coach Barry Trotz. “We have in the past at times. I don’t know if we can do it against a very good Boston team. We rely on the four lines. We need at least three lines going and (Saturday night), I didn’t feel that I had three lines that were really on top of their game. We won’t be able to win unless we have all four lines helping to keep and contain.”
Islanders vs Bruins (Boston leads 1-0)
Game 1…Saturday May 29th…Bruins 5 Islanders 2…
Game 2…Monday May 31st…Islanders at Bruins…730pm NBCSN
Game 3…Thursday June 3rd…Bruins at Islanders…730pm NBCSN
Game 4…Saturday June 5th…Bruins at Islanders…715pm NBC
*Game 5…Monday June 7th…Islanders at Bruins…TBD
*Game 6…Wednesday June 9th…Bruins at Islanders…TBD
*Game 7…Friday June 11th…Islanders at Bruins…TBD
One way to generate more chances is for the Islanders defenseman to get more shots through from the point, especially on the power play. For that to happen, the Islanders blueliners have to find some open lanes and not get shots blocked.
The Islanders believe that they can pepper Bruins goalie Tukka Rask with more than the 22 shots on goal they mustered in game one and that a good chunk of that can come from the blueline.
“I think so,” said Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech who scored a goal in game one. “They’re kind of always there if you put yourself in the right position and find the lanes. That’s definitely something that’s going to be important. We need to get pucks to the net from the blueline in this series.”
If the Islanders can get those shots through from the point or if they can get more clear shots on Rask from the other skaters, then perhaps they get create some more opportunities from the dirty areas. Even if Rask makes the initial save, the Islanders need to find a way to crash the net and poke home some rebounds.
“Offensively we can do a better job of getting to the second opportunities and putting those on net,” said Islanders forward Kyle Palmieri. “We’ll make some adjustments and just get ready for the next game.”
The Islanders may also have to shake things up a bit to try and find more offense. It doesn’t sound like it will come from any lineup changes, but more likely from shuffling the deck that is already in play.
“We will have the same skaters,” said Trotz. “The same group will play (Monday night). If they’re playing in the same positions, I am considering that.”
It’s hard to fathom the Islanders advancing to round three without Mat Barzal scoring some goals. They also need some other players to step up and produce in order to have chance in this series. The Islanders success the last three seasons has been because they can roll four lines and can create chances in front of the net but also by being solid on the forecheck. To beat the Boston Bruins, there can’t be any passengers and they have to get more pucks to the net. That has to start in game two on Monday night.