When you look at the Islanders and Bruins facing off tonight (7 p.m. ET on Versus) you see one team looking to build on a dormant legacy while another looks to continue their season rolling in the right direction and shaking off a Stanley Cup hangover.
The Islanders have rolled through three goalies and rode the coattails of a man-child in John Tavares. Boston has sleepwalked through the first month of the year, but after two straight wins including a 7-0 stomping of Toronto, appear to have gotten it figured out.
For Boston, getting it figured out means working through line changes and new chemistry. Part of that new chemistry involves 2010 #2 overall pick Tyler Seguin settling in on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Seguin’s hat trick against Toronto certainly looked nice. While David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Nathan Horton get it back together, Seguin’s line has been stellar. Going with the old adage of “the youth shall lead them” is fitting in well for the Bruins.
It’s much the same on Long Island as John Tavares has been out-of-this-world good for New York. His great start is showing that the Islanders have someone special to lead the way offensively in New York, but for the Islanders to succeed they need more production from just about everyone else. If Tavares’ skills can rub off on guys not named Mark Streit (who has also been outstanding), they’ll be i better shape.
Instead, we have a pair of teams with the same number of points looking to get better. For the Islanders, getting a nice night in goal out of any of their troika of Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov, or Al Montoya would go a long way towards that. Tim Thomas and his Movember mustache and mask will hope to keep the Islanders at bay. If the Bruins can’t do that, it’ll feel like they need to go back to square one to get things going.