No. 4 Islanders at No. 3 Bruins
7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, TVAS, TVAS2
Boston leads best-of-7 series, 1-0
Semyon Varlamov could start in goal for the New York Islanders in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Second Round against the Boston Bruins on Monday.
Varlamov lost each of his two starts in the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins and has not played since a 5-4 loss in Game 3 on May 20, but he went 5-1-0 with a .943 save percentage and one shutout in seven games against the Bruins during the regular season.
Ilya Sorokin allowed four goals on 39 shots in New York’s 5-2 loss in Game 1 at Boston on Saturday. It was his first postseason loss.
Varlamov was the first goalie to leave the ice at the Islanders’ morning skate Monday, according to Newsday.
“Just a lot of thought,” coach Barry Trotz said when asked what went into his goalie choice for Game 2. “There will be a Russian, left-handed goaltender.” Varlamov and Sorokin each was born in Russia and catches left handed.
The Bruins are 25-7 (.781) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series when they hold a 2-0 lead; the Islanders are 3-10 (.231) when trailing 2-0.
Here are 3 keys for Game 2:
1. Same approach, regardless of starting goalie
Coach Bruce Cassidy said the game plan remains the same for the Bruins no matter who the starts for the Islanders. It’s imperative Boston makes it difficult for the goalie by creating traffic in front of the net and forcing him to control rebounds, which Sorokin struggled with Saturday.
“I don’t think it changes much, honestly,” Cassidy said. “We obviously have a scouting report on each goalie’s tendencies. … We know that [Trotz] is going to play a Russian goaltender tonight, so we’ve got that narrowed down. After that, we’re not sure.”
2. Bring split back to Nassau Coliseum
The Islanders will have a crowd of 12,000 in New York for Game 3 on Thursday, an increase from the 9,000 they played in front of for Game 6 in the first round. They hope to salvage a split after falling short in front of 17,400 at TD Garden for Game 1.
“I don’t know if it changes the importance of tonight’s game much; I think it still means the same, but it’ll be fun,” Islanders forward Josh Bailey said. “I think the last game, it was a great atmosphere here too. It was fun to be a part of. It’s nice to get that feeling back, going out to a sold-out crowd. We’ll look forward to it when the day comes at the Coliseum, but for now we’ll focus on tonight.”
3. Bruins’ top lines need to keep rolling
Boston will have a different look on the second forward line, with Jake DeBrusk replacing Craig Smith, who is out with a lower-body injury sustained during Game 1.
“The Perfection Line” of Brad Marchand (one assist), Patrice Bergeron (two assists) and David Pastrnak (three goals) combined to score six points. The second line of Taylor Hall (one goal), David Krejci (three assists) and Smith combined for four points.
“Obviously you just need that one shift, and then the rest fall [into place],” Krejci said. “The first line goes out there and has a good shift, and the second lines goes and they try to follow up. … That’s how you keep the momentum.
“I think [Hall] added some much-needed secondary scoring; that definitely takes some pressure off the first line.”
Islanders projected lineup
Leo Komarov — Mathew Barzal — Jordan Eberle
Anthony Beauvillier — Brock Nelson — Josh Bailey
Kyle Palmieri — Jean-Gabriel Pageau — Travis Zajac
Matt Martin — Casey Cizikas — Cal Clutterbuck
Adam Pelech — Ryan Pulock
Nick Leddy — Scott Mayfield
Andy Greene — Noah Dobson
Scratched: Cole Bardreau, Kieffer Bellows, Austin Czarnik, Michael Dal Colle, Anatoli Golyshev, Simon Holmstrom, Ross Johnston, Otto Koivula, Dmytro Timashov, Sebastian Aho, Samuel Bolduc, Braydon Coburn, Thomas Hickey, Grant Hutton, Bode Wilde, Ken Appleby, Cory Schneider
Injured: Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body)
Bruins projected lineup
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall — David Krejci — Jake DeBrusk
Nick Ritchie — Charlie Coyle — Karson Kuhlman
Sean Kuraly — Curtis Lazar — Chris Wagner
Matt Grzelcyk — Charlie McAvoy
Mike Reilly — Brandon Carlo
Jeremy Lauzon — Connor Clifton
Scratched: Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Cameron Hughes, Greg McKegg, Zach Senyshyn, Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, Jack Ahcan, Jarred Tinordi, Urho Vaakanainen, Nick Wolff, Callum Booth, Jaroslav Halak, Dan Vladar
Injured: Ondrej Kase (upper body), Craig Smith (lower body), Jakub Zboril (upper body), Steven Kampfer (upper body), Kevan Miller (undisclosed)
Wahlstrom will miss his third straight game, but Trotz said the forward “is getting nearer. We’ll see where we are for Game 3 (on Thursday).” … Smith is day to day after the forward left Game 1 at 1:20 of the third period following a collision with Clutterbuck.