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Preview: It’s an Atlantic Showdown as the Bruins and Lightning face off in Game 1

These guys again?

Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Boston Bruins At TD Garden Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Just the facts

  • When: Tonight, 8 PM
  • Where: ScotiaBank Arena - Toronto, ON
  • How to follow: NBC, Sportsnet, TVAS, 98.5 The Sports Hub
  • Rival SBN site: Raw Charge

Know your enemy

  • Brayden Point: 8GP, 5G, 5A, 10PTS; Nikita Kucherov: 8GP, 2G, 7A, 9PTS; Tyler Johnson: 8GP, 3G, 1A, 4PTS; Alex Killorn: 8GP, 2G, 2A, 4PTS
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy: 6-2-0, 1.98 GAA, .927 save percentage

Game notes

  • Here we go again! The Bruins and Lightning renew acquaintances, continuing what has been a simmering rivalry. This could be the series that turns the simmer into a boil.
  • Tampa exorcised some demons with a 4-1 series win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round. In case you need a reminder (you don’t), Tampa got swept by Columbus last season. Good times.
  • Steven Stamkos has been ruled out for Game 1, but it appears increasingly likely that he’ll make an appearance in this series sooner rather than later.
  • The Bruins lost to Tampa by a 3-2 score during the round robin, but it was probably the best overall game they played during that not-great stretch. Obviously quite a bit has changed since then, but the Bruins certainly shouldn’t have any trouble hanging with Tampa.
  • Like the Bruins, the Lightning are a fairly top-heavy team. There probably won’t be many series with a better Line 1 vs. Line 1 match-up than this one. I’d put Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak up against any line in the league, but Palat-Point-Kucherov is a pretty good test.
  • The Lightning beefed up their lineup in the off-season and at the trade deadline, in theory to better their chances against more physical teams. The Bruins tried to do the same at the trade deadline by acquiring Nick Ritchie, but it hasn’t quite worked out in these playoffs. Still, one can’t help but wonder if the Bruins will be tempted to put Ritchie back in the lineup to try to square up with guys like Pat Maroon and Barclay Goodrow.
  • I don’t like Cedric Paquette. That’s all.
  • It will be interesting to see how this series does in terms of emotion. These teams don’t really like each other, and this is a second-round playoff should be intense. But will the lack of hostile crowds take some of the steam out of things? Only time will tell.

See ya tonight!