The Boston Bruins are coming off a nail-biter of a series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but after just barely surviving Game 7 they have to turn around and do it again against the best team in the East. The Lightning dispatched the Devils 4-1 in their opening series, with Nikita Kucherov leading the way with five goals and five assists in just five games.
The Lightning definitely look scary, but Boston may have survived the toughest first round draw of any team that made it out, and certainly the most intriguing series in the East. David Pastrnak put up 13 points in the first round despite long stretches where his line just couldn’t seem to find the net — despite copious opportunities — and Brad Marchand put up nine points himself.
This series is going to be a unique clash. The flash of the Lightning against the grittiness of the Bruins. It’s undoubtedly a step up in competition from the Devils, so we’ll see how Tampa Bay handles the playoff atmosphere that Boston brings.
How to watch Bruins vs Lightning Live
TV: NBC, NBCS
Stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
(All times ET)
- Game 1 (Saturday, April 28): Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 3 p.m. — NBC
- Game 2 (Monday, April 30): Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m. — NBCS
- Game 3 (Wednesday, May 2): Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. — NBCS
- Game 4 (Friday, May 4): Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. — NBCS
- Game 5 (Sunday, May 6)*: TBD
- Game 6*: TBD
- Game 7*: TBD
NHL Playoffs odds
Here’s a look at each team’s projected odds to advance via SportsLine, not to mention their odds to win not only their conference, but also the Stanley Cup.
This Lightning offense is a problem. After scoring 18 goals in the first round, 10 of which Nikita Kucherov had a hand in, the Lightning will face off against the talented (albeit streaky) Bruins team, whose first two lines have continued to be solid throughout the playoffs despite a few droughts. Only two Lightning players went negative in plus-minus in the first round. The Bruins were less top-heavy in the scoring department — David Pastrnak had 13 goals while two other players had nine, and after Kucherov’s 10 points the next-best Lightning scorer was Steven Stamkos with six — but the offense that the Lightning put together in five games is insane, and having one of the best scorers in the NHL definitely elevates the team in a tight battle with Boston’s deep list of scorers.
The Lightning have two top-flight pairs with Victor Hedman and Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonough and Anton Stralman. Once they start digging into that third pair against the Bruins’ formidable scorers they may start to run into some trouble. For the Bruins, Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy lead the way with Torey Krug and Kevan Miller complementing them against the Lightning’s outstanding first two lines. Overall, the first two pairs are fairly even. It could come down to the third pairs to determine this series against two of the deepest scoring rosters in hockey.
Oh boy, which Tuuka Rask are we going to get? Rask was all over the place against the Maple Leafs, although to their credit, that Maple Leafs team could score. Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t see a ton of firepower against the Devils, and it showed in the box score. He gave up 12 goals in the five first-round games, although five of those came in one game. It was definitely the start that Vasilevskiy needed after a bad end to his regular season. However, if Rask struggled against the Maple Leafs, posting a save percentage of .899, then there’s reason to be concerned about him against the Lightning. He’ll need to have some short memory, but he also just survived a series against the No. 3 scoring team in hockey. Now he’s dealing with No. 1.
Long story short, the Lightning cannot afford to go the box against the Bruins. The Bruins scored on 32 percent of their power play opportunities against the Maple Leafs, who took 22 penalties throughout the series. The Lightning took 20 penalties in just five games against the Devils. During the regular season, these teams were third and fourth in the NHL in conversion rate, but the Lightning were an alarming 28th in the NHL on the kill. Boston was third, so their four goals in 15 attempts in the first round raises some eyebrows. Regardless, a line of Bergeron, Marchand, Nash, Pastrnak and Krug is not an inviting one for the Lightning, and the only way to avoid that nightmare is to stay out of the box.