4 things to know about the Islanders as Bruins prepare for second-round series

The Bruins have not lost to the Islanders since acquiring Taylor Hall.

The Islanders have not beaten the Bruins since Taylor Hall arrived. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The Bruins and Islanders will take the ice for the first time in their second-round series at TD Garden on Saturday at 8 p.m., as the Bruins look to build on their first-round success.

The Islanders are coming off a hard-fought six games against the Penguins in which even local media noted that the Islanders were outplayed for the majority of the series.

Still, the Islanders are coming together at the right time behind some unlikely faces, as well as some familiar ones to the Bruins.

Here are four things to know.

Ilya Sorokin dominated the Penguins

Perhaps the biggest storyline for the Islanders in their opening series was their rookie goalie, who wrenched the starting job away from Semyon Varlamov by going 4-0 against the Penguins with several impressive performances and a .943 save percentage. His best individual night: A dominant Game 3 in which he recorded 48 saves in 50 attempts.


Sorokin’s emergence is a major luxury for the Islanders, who can go back to Varlamov if Sorokin struggles.

The Bruins’s stellar offense will have an opportunity to test a rising rookie in a high-pressure postseason setting.

The Bruins haven’t lost to the Islanders since Taylor Hall’s arrival

The Islanders and Bruins faced each other eight times this season, and New York won the season series 5-3.

Interestingly, however, the Islanders won the first five games, while the Bruins claimed the final three. What changed?

First, most of the games were close — the only blowout was New York’s 7-2 victory on Feb. 25. Perhaps more to the point, however: The Bruins are yet to lose to the Islanders since the trade deadline, when they acquired former MVP Taylor Hall in a major move to shore up their offense.

The Bruins surged after acquiring Hall, and he punished the Islanders with four goals in three games. He scored twice in the Bruins’s 3-2 victory over the Islanders on May 10.

Hall is enjoying his new home.

“I do want to play here, not just for one or two more years, hopefully longer than that,” Hall recently told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “I don’t even know what my worth is right now, honestly. I’m not worried about my contract right now, it’s something we’ll figure out in the summer. I have much bigger things to worry about as a player, as a teammate. I knew it was a great city, but I’ve been surprised at how much better it’s been than I even thought it was. So hopefully it all works out.”

Mathew Barzal is taking on the team that could have had him

The Islanders are led by Barzal, who recorded 45 points (17 goals, 28 assists) this season.


Barzal is a bit of a sore spot for some Bruins fans — in 2015, the front office had three consecutive opportunities to draft him with any of the 13th, 14th or 15th picks in the entry draft.

The Bruins turned down all three chances, instead taking Jakub Zboril, Jake DeBrusk and Zachary Senyshyn. If Barzal torments the Bruins in this series, the decision to pass on him might sting a little more.

Quincy’s Oliver Wahlstrom might not be ready in time for the series

The 20-year-old rookie (and Quincy native) suffered a nasty looking injury in Game 5 against the Penguins. In the third period, battling Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson, Wahlstrom slammed into the boards with his right leg bent back underneath him, his head whipping to the side like a rag doll. He went down and stayed down for a minute before a trainer assisted him off the ice.

Wahlstrom was a game-time decision due to his knee before he was ultimately ruled out for Game 6. He could be back in time to start the series against the Bruins. If he isn’t, Travis Zajac will likely start in his place after starting Game 6. Zajac has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) this season.

Wahlstrom recorded 12 goals and nine assists this year.


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