The Boston Bruins will meet the New York Islanders in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday night.
The two teams are pretty evenly matched, and head coach Bruce Cassidy sees some similarities between the two East Division rivals.
“I think they have a lot of our attributes. They want to be structured, they want to play with discipline, they have good goaltending,” Cassidy told reporters Thursday over Zoom. “Their D certainly gets involved, but they want to play D first. They’ve got different lines that can hurt you. So in that regard, we’re playing ourselves a little bit. Very well coached. So for us, it’s a matter of staying within ourselves, play the game in front of you, put some pressure on their D.”
Boston did struggle in its first five games against New York in the regular season, but won the final three and looked like a different team due to a busy trade deadline. So, what exactly changed?
“One, we were healthier,” Cassidy said. “I think the start of the year there were a lot of games, no excuses, but were scheduled back-to-backs or we were without people, etc. I know that I don’t want to judge us on the start of the year against them. I don’t know how they’re judging themselves against us from the end of the year, when we had more success. To me, honestly, it’s a fresh start for both teams. Both teams are playing well.”
Both teams indeed are playing well, considering both the Bruins and Islanders knocked out the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively, from playoff contention.
We’re sure this series will be a doozy. It all starts Saturday at TD Garden at 8 p.m. ET.