Bruins vs Lightning Round Two Preview

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23: Boston Bruins Left Wing Brad Marchand (63) receives the pass deep in the lighting zone. During the Boston Bruins game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 23, 2017 at TD Bank Garden in Boston, MA. (Photo by Michael Tureski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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

If Necessary

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.

Courtesy of @rabbi_d via Flickr

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.

BOSTON MA. – MARCH 16: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins struts his stuff after netting the game winner and John Moore #27 of the Boston Bruins closes in to congratulate him as the Bruins take on the Blue Jackets in the overtime period at the Garden on March 16, 2019 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

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.

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Image by Dinur Blum (@Rabbi_d) Via Flickr

Halak’s Heroics

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.

Nov 3, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak (41) during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Oct 18, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Mar 25, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA;Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) celebrates as he scores the game winning goal against the Boston Bruins during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Acquisitions

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.

New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman (20) falls to the ice after scoring a goal next to Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (7) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray) AP

Series Prediction

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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