The Boston Bruins have found themselves in the playoffs once again and moving into the second round. While the Tampa Bay Lightning did not advance last season, they managed to advance to the second round this year. Both of these teams have fought for their spots and this series was predicted by many fans.
The Lightning and Bruins are both very strong and aggressive teams who use the whole ice to find their advantage points.
Leading the Bruins in scoring is David Pastrnak, who has 95 points, including 48 goals. Comparatively leading the Lightning is Nikita Kucherov who has 85 points and 33 goals —–both strong, heavy-scoring players who match up well together. With strong-scoring players, it puts more pressure on the goalies to match in preventing scoring opportunities.
Tuuka Rask, the starting goalie for the Bruins, left the bubble for personal reasons this week, which leads to the question of if Jaroslav Halak matches Rask’s goaltending ability and receives the same respect by teammates and opponents. Goaltending in Tampa matched both Rask and Halak in Goals Against Average (GAA), which created a known playing field among the two teams. Both teams will need to stay strong in the net to hold against strong players.
With both teams being heavy skaters and defenders, it is surprising that not many goals were scored in their previous series in the first round.
In all five games, Tampa was only able to score 12 goals all spread out while Boston, combined, scored 10. Boston, overall, got outscored through the entire series against the Carolina Hurricanes but scored when it mattered. The Bruins expect to win and have a strong mind on the ice and communicate well as a team but cannot go off luck to win these games in the end. The Lightning were equally matched in scoring by the Columbus Blue Jackets but came out on top. Tampa Bay knows how to maneuver across the ice and find the net without leaning on luck.
This series between Boston and Tampa Bay will be heavy hitting with many shots on goal, but both teams will need to remain healthy to stay ahead. Players like Pastrnak have been injured during the playoffs and he is a key aspect of the Bruins offensive line, which is needed to keep up with the Lightning. The Lightning lost Steven Stamkos to injury during the playoffs, which is another key loss to the offensive line missing out on 66 points.
Both Bruins and Lightning will find challenges through the series but they seem to be on a very equal footing going into Sunday night’s Game 1. In the end, the Lightning will have the drive to overcome Boston in this series.
Prediction: Lightning in 5