By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Islanders owned the Bruins in their first five matchups this year. After the trade deadline, though, the Bruins won all three games vs. the team from Long Island.READ MORE: Cam Newton May Be Back On Field This Week For Patriots Mandatory Minicamp
Given the competitive nature of the season series (the Islanders were 5-2-1 vs. Boston, while the Bruins were 3-3-2), one might assume that a long, tight series awaits the two teams in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
According to one computer model, though, that assumption would be very wrong.
Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic applied his prediction model to the upcoming Bruins-Islanders series. And according to that model, the Bruins have a 79.9 percent chance of winning the series, leaving the Islanders with just a 20.1 percent chance of winning.
The model calls for a 63 percent chance overall that the Bruins wrap up the series win without even needing a Game 7.
That is … rather extreme.
Bruins vs. Islanders series previewREAD MORE: Blue Jays Slug 5 Homers In 7-2 Victory Over Red Sox
— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) May 28, 2021
“This series, according to the model, is very lopsided,” Luszczyszyn wrote. “It will be very difficult for the Islanders to eke out a victory. Not impossible, but very difficult.”
Luszczyszyn noted that Tristan Jarry’s terrible performance in the first round vs. the Islanders portends a regression when they have to face Tuukka Rask, one of the best statistical postseason goaltenders of all time. On the other side, the model is “skeptical” of Ilya Sorokin, who (at least temporarily) unseated Vezina candidate Semyon Varlamov as the Islanders’ starting goaltender.
He also noted that the Bruins went 3-0 against the Islanders after acquiring Taylor Hall, and that’s no coincidence.
“Hall has predictably been the best deadline addition for any team and he’s single-handedly changed the team’s complexion,” Luszczyszyn wrote. “In 16 games before the playoffs, Hall had 14 points and elevated the second line to juggernaut status. In 180 minutes together, they outscored opponents by a stunning margin of 13-1 and earned a 68 percent expected goals rate. He’s been a perfect fit next to Krejci and Smith, forming what looks to be a nearly unstoppable trio.”MORE NEWS: Verdugo, Red Sox Rally From 4 Down, Top Blue Jays 6-5 In 9th
The model is certainly thorough, and Luszczyszyn’s 3,600-word article to explain is fascinating. Obviously though, it’s the NHL, and it’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and once the rubber puck starts flying around the 200-by-85-foot ice surface, deflecting off sticks and skates, with fans going even more insane than usual in the stands, truly anything can happen. But at least, even if this model has some margin for error, it seems as though the Bruins should find a way to beat the Islanders, get out of the East, and make it one step closer to playing for the Stanley Cup.