NHL Matchup of the Week: New York Islanders at Boston Bruins

There are some terrific matchups around the National Hockey League this season, but perhaps none bigger than the game taking place on Thursday night in Boston. The Boston Bruins will host the New York Islanders in a battle of two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Neither the Bruins or Islanders give up many goals this season, and this one should go down to the final horn.

The Boston Bruins sit in first place in the Atlantic Division with 48 points on the season. Boston recently suffered through a five game losing streak which dropped them out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The New York Islanders have been playing great hockey of late, and enter the week with 46 points. New York sits in second place in the Metropolitan Division, but are well behind the Washington Capitals.

Pastrnak, Marchand Carrying Bruins

The Boston Bruins have been dealing with some injuries of late, but their two best players remain on the ice and playing well. David Pastrnak is now up to 28 goals on the season, and is one of the most explosive players in the league. Brad Marchand leads the way with 32 assists and 50 points and is the table setter for this team. The Bruins are averaging close to 3.4 goals per game this season, and they can score in a hurry.

Boston also has a pair of terrific goaltenders this season, and both of them have been tough to score on. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have combined for four shutouts this season, and are stopping close to 92 percent of shots they face this season. Boston also kills over 83 percent of their own penalties which has really helped out their goaltending combination.

Islanders Playing Some Elite Defense

The New York Islanders are giving up just 2.32 goals per game this season, and their defense has really carried this team. The Islanders have allowed just four total goals during their recent three game winning streak, and they will need to play like this to beat Boston. Goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Griess have actually outplayed the Boston duo, and are stopping 93 percent of shots faced.

The Islanders are not as explosive as the Bruins are, but they do have a terrific player. Center Mathew Barzal leads the team with 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points and will need to be great in this game. New York has converted on just 20 percent of their power play attempts, and that number will need to improve as the season moves along.

Bruins Too Much at Home

These are two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and this should be a terrific game. Neither team gives up many goals this season, and this will be a tight game. The Boston Bruins have two of the best goal scorers in the National Hockey League on their side, and that is going to be the difference in this game. The New York Islanders are for real, but they won't pick up a point in this game. Bet the Boston Bruins over the New York Islanders in the NHL Matchup of the Week.