The regular season’s top two teams from the Eastern Conference are set to meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After a hard-fought seven game series against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning beat the New Jersey Devils to advance to round two. In the season series between these teams, the Bruins hold a 3-1 record. That one loss occurred during the latest meeting between the clubs. Our Tampa Bay plays Boston Stanley Cup Playoffs Round Two pick sees a series between two evenly matched teams.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had a stellar regular season, as well as a great start to these playoffs. The Vezina Trophy Candidate finished his series against the New Jersey Devils with a .941 save percentage and 2.01 GAA. Those were the third and fifth best numbers in the respective stats among goaltenders who are still left in the playoffs. While Vasilevskiy has looked sharp so for, the Bruins’ offense is hot and will be a much tougher challenge for the Russian goaltender than the Devils were.
For the Bruins, Tuukka Rask’s play varied a lot in the first round. While currently holding .899 save percentage and a 2.94 GAA. Rask made some big saves and held his team together at times. However, he also struggled on occasion, including getting pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots in game five. In contrast to some of his rough performances, the Finn looked especially sharp in game four making 31 saves on 32 shots. The Bruins hope this is the Rask they get against the Lightning. With Tampa’s offense, which led the NHL in total goals during the regular season, the Bruins will need more consistency from their netminder.
High Flying Offenses
Both the Bruins and the Lightning, have dangerous offensive firepower. Tampa Bay led the NHL in scoring during the regular season, while Boston currently has the most goals after one round of playoff action. Tampa was led by Nikita Kucherov both in goals and points with 5 and 10 respectively through five games against New Jersey. Kucherov’s line mates Steven Stamkos (1-5-6) and JT Miller (1-3-4) are dangerous as well. Miller made an immediate impact after coming over to the Bolts at the trade deadline. The Bruins do luck out with Stamkos likely still nursing a late-season injury. Although he has still been productive, when healthy he can be even more troublesome for teams.
In order to win this series, Tampa Bay will need to find a way to shut down the Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak. In the opening round, The B’s first line dominated much of the time against Toronto. All three forwards registered more than a point per game with Pastrnak ending the series tied for the league lead in post-season points with 5 goals and 8 assists. At times when the Leafs were able to contain these three players, Boston was unable to pull out wins. Shutting down this line will be key if Tampa is going to defeat the Bruins. The Lightning will also have to be superb on the penalty kill. The B’s offense has been especially dangerous on the power play thus far, converting on 31.8% of their opportunities with the man advantage.
Tampa Bay Plays Boston Stanley Cup Playoffs Round Two Pick
The Tampa Bay Lighting came out on top of the Boston Bruins at the end of the regular season to gain the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. This series is likely to be close, but Boston’s top line is too good to not take over play at some point in this series, making this match up more difficult for Vasilevskiy compared to his previous series against the Devils.
Rask’s play will likely be a deciding factor for Boston. The Bruins will not be able to afford poor goaltending against the East’s top seed. They will need the Rask they had during Game 4 against the Leafs to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. If Rask does find his grove and the B’s offense stays hot, they will have a good chance to send Tampa packing. Here’s our Tampa Bay plays Boston Stanley Cup Playoffs Round Two pick.