On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Carolina Hurricanes on their home ice to punch their second-straight ticket to the semifinals. Tonight, the center of the hockey world is Long Island, N.Y., for a crucial Game 6. A win for the Islanders would set up a rematch with the aforementioned Lightning and give New York a chance to avenge last year’s elimination in the Eastern Conference Final. On the other hand, the Bruins have the opposite goal in mind — they can bring this series back to Boston for a Game 7.
That’s the only NHL game on tap tonight, and after the Golden Knights cashed us our last plus-money winner on Friday (10-6-1 +2.1u YTD), let’s have a look at another plus-money wager I like out on the Island tonight.
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New York Islanders vs. Boston Bruins: Game 6 (NYI Leads 3-2)
This series has had an eerily similar feel to the Islanders’ first-round matchup against the Penguins. Both featured New York as the underdog, and few analysts gave them a chance to win either. But the Islanders also stole a road game in both Pittsburgh and Boston to kick off each series, and they also suffered disheartening home losses in the Game 3s of both series.
Don’t look now, but the Islanders have yet to lose after a Game 3 in these playoffs, and a win tonight would cap off their second-straight three-game win streak to eliminate an opponent. New York is well prepared for tonight — they have been here before, and I’m not just referring to the first round against Pittsburgh.
The Islanders are 5-3 in the playoffs under Barry Trotz with a chance to eliminate their opponent, and they have been victorious in all five series where they’ve won at least three games. They have won 62.5% of the time in this situation and have closed out 100% of those series. They’re home underdogs tonight, which gives us a great opportunity to hit another plus-money winner.
I also just don’t like where the Bruins are at mentally or physically. Head coach Bruce Cassidy showed absolutely no confidence in his team during the postgame press conference after their Game 5 defeat. He instead blamed the officiating and took shots at the Islanders’ style of play, which, as I highlighted in my opening round preview, tends to wear teams down as the series goes longer and longer. If he doesn’t believe in his team, why should we?
The Bruins will not have Brandon Carlo, Kevan Miller, or Curtis Lazar. Starting goaltender Tuukka Rask is a question mark.
Other than that, they’re ready for Game 6 against the Islanders Wednesday.@mattyports has more.https://t.co/eaEt4hCgIN
— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) June 8, 2021
Boston also turned to rookie Jeremy Swayman in the third period of Game 5 after Tuukka Rask felt less than 100% during the intermission. Swayman has yet to start a playoff game in his brief NHL career, and aside from his one period of mop-up duty on Monday, he hasn’t played a game since May 11th. We saw what happened in Game 1 of the Vegas series when Robin Lehner was thrown into the net after a month off — Vegas got destroyed 7-1. The relentless Islanders forecheck will make it difficult for Swayman to shake off the rust and get into an early groove if he has to start tonight. And from the looks of it, Rask just might be held out, along with Curtis Lazar, Kevan Miller, and Brandon Carlo.
In fact, NESN’s Andrew Raycroft, a former Bruins goaltender himself, believes the Bruins should hold Rask out tonight. Boston’s patchwork lineup didn’t pay dividends in Game 5, and they’ll have to use many of the same skaters tonight.
Andrew Raycroft says Bruins can’t let Tuukka Rask play through injury in Game 6https://t.co/ViBcVCFEFf pic.twitter.com/56CrCX2ZhW
— Boston.com Bruins News (@BDCBruins) June 8, 2021
The Islanders come into this game much healthier despite Oliver Wahlstrom still being listed as day-to-day. They’re also much hotter and have more confidence. The chance to eliminate the Bruins in front of their home fans and extend the life of the Nassau Coliseum just a little bit longer will provide them added motivation, and I like them tonight as a rare second-round home underdog.
The Pick: Islanders +120 (Good to +100)
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Mike Wagenman is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @mjwags23.
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