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Bruins vs. Lightning Game 1 Preview: Into the storm

The Bruins are in Tampa to kick off their second-round series.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: Today, 3 PM

Where: Amalie Arena - Tampa, Florida

How to follow: NBC, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Raw Charge

Know your enemy

  • Nikita Kucherov: 5G-5A-10PTS; Steven Stamkos: 1G-5A-6PTS; Alex Killorn: 4G-1A-5PTS; Ondrej Palat: 1G-3A-4PTS
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy: 4-1-0, 2.01 GAA, .941 save percentage

Game notes

  • Let’s do it! It seems like the Bruins just eliminated Toronto yesterday, doesn’t it? Yet here we are, the second round already upon us. Tampa hasn’t played in almost a week, as they eliminated New Jersey in five games on April 21st.
  • So...who does that favor? The Bruins, logic would dictate, might be more tired. Or Tampa could be more rusty. Chances are it all evens out after the first five minutes, but WE’LL SEE.
  • These are two deep teams that match up pretty well with one another, so chances are the series will come down to two things: capitalizing on mistakes and special teams. The Bruins have the playoffs’ best power play at 33%; Tampa has the fourth-best at 26.3%. Tampa’s got the seventh-best penalty kill at 84.2%, while the Bruins have the worst of any team left at 73.3%.
  • It’ll be interesting to see how Tuukka Rask responds in this series. He (objectively) didn’t have a great series in the first round. The hot takes about him blowing games are way overblown, but he certainly wasn’t his best. Unlike Round 1, the Bruins are playing a guy who’s been consistently solid all season. If Rask has as shaky a Round 2 as he did Round 1, it’ll probably be a much shorter series.
  • The Bruins vs. Lightning games this season were pretty up and down. The B’s got pasted in the most recent contest, but had one of their most satisfying wins of the season the game before that, and shut them out in the one before that. Obviously the playoffs are a whole different beast, but there’s no reason to believe the Bruins can’t skate with this team.
  • Depth production will be huge in this series. Both teams have monster top lines and decent depth below that. Assume, for the sake of argument, that the top lines will cancel each other out. The Bruins should be able to make hay against the middle two lines, provided that David Backes, Rick Nash, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk can keep it going.
  • No more NESN, so stay tuned to Twitter to see some great takes from Jack Edwards. He’s always entertaining on there when he’s not allowed to be on TV.

See you this afternoon!