The Boston Bruins head to Long Island tonight for Game 6 of the East Division Stanley Cup Playoff Series in the second round against the New York Islanders need a win to send the best-of-seven series back to Boston for a Game 7 Friday night.
If the Bruins are going to win at the Nassau Coliseum, a place where they are 1-5 in the regular and postseason combined, they’ll have to do it minus some key pieces, as well as a No. 1 goalkeeper who isn’t quite healthy. Sounds like a long task.
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Bruins is without an attacker and two defenders.
I’m not telling any news here, but on Tuesday, Boston coach Bruce Cassidy ruled out defenders Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller for Game 6. The duo did not travel with the team on Tuesday.
The Bruins felt the loss of both players in Game 5 as their penalty kill struggled to give up three goals in four chances to the Islanders, which turned out to be the difference in a 5-4 win in New York. Miller never stepped on the ice this series as he got injured in Game 4 against the Washington Capitals and has been out since.
Carlo got a hit in Game 3 and has since been eliminated and even if the Bruins can win the last two games to meet the Tampa Bay Lightning in the semifinals, there’s a chance he wouldn’t play in that series either. A loss tonight makes that a moot point.
Curtis Lazar also will not play tonight’s game after an injury in Game 5 on a goal by Adam Pelech of the Islanders. He came in second in the playoffs to the Black and Gold in faceoffs win rate of 54.6 percent (%), just behind Sean Kuraly’s 57.1%.
Cassidy pulled Tuukka Rask in Game 5 after allowing two periods and four goals, but you have to wonder how? healthy the Bruins’ top is just less. In a Game 6 with your season on the line in what will be an insanely loud environment, play Rask, who clearly isn’t right, or throw rookie Jeremy Swayman in the pipes to try and save your season in his first career start. playoffs?
We’ll find out those answers soon enough, but one thing’s for sure, it’s either win or go home for the Bruins tonight on Long Island. The Islanders had the same situation in their first round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins and they won Game 6 at home with a 3-2 lead, 5-3. Boston will try to do what the pins haven’t done, force a Game 7. Much easier said than done.