It’ll be the Capitals or the Bruins.
The Islanders will find out Sunday which of the Eastern Conference’s two division winners they’ll meet in the first round of the NHL playoffs. The teams play Sunday at noon at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto and the Islanders will face the winner in a best-of-seven series.
The top four teams in each conference are concluding a round-robin concurrent to the best-of-five qualifying series to determine seeding. The Islanders, who eliminated the Panthers with a 5-1 win in Friday’s Game 4, slid up to the sixth seed with the 12th-seeded Canadiens upsetting the fifth-seeded Penguins.
The Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals had one point through their first two round-robin games. The Atlantic Division-champion Bruins, who finished the truncated regular-season with an NHL-best 100 points, have lost twice in regulation so far in the round-robin.
Here’s how the Islanders fared against them this season:
Bruins – The Islanders went 1-1-1 against Boston, losing both games in New York. Mathew Barzal scored a goal and the shootout winner, defenseman Johnny Boychuk had a goal and an assist and Semyon Varlamov made 27 saves in a 3-2 shootout win at Boston on Dec. 19. Cal Clutterbuck had his left wrist slashed by Patrice Bergeron’s skate blade in the third period and missed the next 30 games. Bergeron had the power-play, overtime winner in a 3-2 Islanders loss at Barclays Center on Jan. 11 as Varlamov made 30 saves. Tuukka Rask made 25 saves as the Bruins won, 4-0, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Feb. 29. Varlamov made 25 saves in the loss.
Capitals – Islanders coach Barry Trotz led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018 and the teams split four games this season, with the road team winning each time. T.J. Oshie’s second-period, power-play goal was the difference as the Capitals spoiled the Islanders’ season-opener at the Coliseum, 2-1, on Oct. 4, with Varlamov making 26 saves. Casey Cizikas scored twice, Tom Kuhnhackl had the second-period winner and Varlamov made 35 saves in a 4-3 win at Washington on Dec. 31. Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick paced the Capitals to a 6-4 win at the Coliseum on Jan. 18, with Thomas Greiss making 24 saves. Anthony Beauvillier scored twice, Greiss made 25 saves and the Islanders built a four-goal lead in a 5-3 win at Washington on Feb. 10.