The Boston Bruins secured the fourth seed in the playoffs after losing their first three games in the NHL’s return to play series. The Bruins matched up against the Carolina Hurricanes during the first round. Defeating the Hurricanes in five games, the Bruins will now face the Tampa Bay Lightning. Will the Lightning strike the Bruins and secure victory or will the Bruins battle and claw their way to a series win?
The Series Schedule
Game 1: Sunday, August 23 at 8:00 P.M. Est
Game 2: Tuesday, August 25 at 7:00 P.M. Est
Game 3: Wednesday, August 26 at 8:00 P.M. Est
Game 4: Friday, August 28 at 7:30 P.M. Est
Sunday, August 30 – Game 5
Tuesday, September 1 – Game 6
Wednesday, September 2 – Game 7
What does Boston need to do to Win?
The Bruins had a tough time during the round-robin tournament to produce offense. Boston’s offense started to find their regular-season form as they had no issue scoring goals against the Hurricanes. If the Bruins want to defeat one of the best teams in the league then they will have to continue to produce offensively and they must improve their defense. During the regular season, the Bruins scored 227 goals including 48 from David Pastrnak.
Bruins perfect line
Pastrnak was deemed unfit to play during parts of the first round and he struggled offensively in the limited games he was allowed to play in. The rest of Boston’s “perfection line” will look to continue their success from the first round. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron are the other members of the perfection line.
Marchand put up 7 points during the series against Carolina including 3 goals. Patrice Bergeron also had a fantastic first round as he had 5 points in the first round. With Pastrnak coming back this should only increase the production from the perfection line. If this line is playing at it’s best then the Lightning will have problems defending against them.
On the defensive side the Bruins will continue to lean on Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo to try and shut down the speedy-skilled forwards Tampa Bay has on their roster. Matt Grzelcyk is also on the Bruins back end and he is an underrated player as he can shut down some of the best players in the league. Grzelcyk also likes to step up in the offensive zone. Watch out for Grzelcyk potentially wiring a shot into the net for a Bruins goal.
Jaroslav Halak is returning to the Bruins crease and will look to continue his strong play from the first round. During the regular season, Halak posted a .919% save percentage and a 2.39 goals-against average. In the playoffs, he has been even better with a 2.29 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage. If the Bruins are going to win against the Lightning then Halak will have to continue to be on top of his game and making clutch saves.
How could Boston lose round one
The Lightning and Bruins are two of the best teams in the league that always have competitive games. They both have very good defensive depth but the Lightning defense has more stars and this should give them an edge.
Super Star Defenders
Tampa Bay was one of the best defensive teams in the regular season with a defense that included Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh. Hedman and McDonagh are both shutdown defenders that the Bruins will struggle to get around to get some scoring chances.
The Lightning also has lots of speed and skill from players such as Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point. During their first-round series, Cirelli and Point used their speed to cause lots of issues for the Columbus Blue Jackets defense. Point and Cirelli combined to score lots of big goals including the 5 overtime game-winner and the series-clinching goal.
At the trade deadline, the Lighting realized they needed to add some grit to their team. The Lightning increased their depth and grit by adding Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow and Coleman are both capable goal scorers but their true value comes from their physicality. These two forwards will make it tough for the Bruins to get the puck out of the defensive zone with heavy-hitting and hard forechecks.
This series could perhaps be the most entertaining series in the entire playoffs. The bad blood between the teams should boil over and create a fantastic series to watch. The powerful offenses of each team will battle it out for chances to beat the terrific goaltending of each team. This series will come down to the wire but the Tampa Bay Lighting should defeat the Bruins in 7 games in the most fun series to watch in the playoffs.
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