3 Keys: Bruins vs. Lightning, Game 1 of Eastern Second Round

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No. 4 Bruins vs. No. 2 Lightning 

8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS 

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins will meet in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second time in three seasons, and third overall, when they play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Sunday. 

The Lightning defeated the Bruins in five games in a 2018 second-round series, winning the final four games after losing Game 1. Boston defeated Tampa Bay in seven games in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final.

The Bruins (.714 points percentage) and Lightning (.657) finished first and second in the East during the regular season, but Boston dropped to the No. 4 seed when it lost all three of its games in the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, including a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Toronto, the Eastern hub city, on Aug. 5.

Boston defeated the Carolina Hurricanes in five games in the first round of the playoffs, while Tampa Bay defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in five games to advance to the second round.

Teams that win Game 1 are 485-220 (68.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 NHL playoff series, including a 7-1 record in the first round this season. 

Here are 3 keys for Game 1:  

 

1. Vasilevskiy vs. Halak 

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has won six of eight starts this postseason with a 1.98 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. He was 3-1-0 with a 2.46 GAA and .922 save percentage against the Bruins in the regular season. 

Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak has not faced the Lightning since March 22, 2018, when he made 11 saves on 12 shots in relief for the New York Islanders. He started and won the past three games for Boston, allowing five goals on 73 shots, after goalie Tuukka Rask opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Aug. 15. 

“I think you just recognize, going through their lineup, which one are the shooters and which ones are the passers,” Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo said. “I think [Halak] has a pretty good handle on all of that.” 

 

2. Krejci staying consistent 

Bruins forward David Krejci has nine points (three goals, six assists) on a six-game point streak, including three goals and five assists in the first round against Carolina. In Game 5, when David Pastrnak returned from being unfit to play the previous three games, Krejci remained on the top power-play unit and had one goal and one assist on the power play in a 2-1 win. 

“He’s so gifted,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “He just sees plays and makes plays that a lot of guys can’t.” 

 

3. Getting the Point 

Lightning forward Brayden Point has at least one point in seven of eight postseason games. He had seven points (four goals, three assists) in the first round, capped with one goal and two assists in Game 5. 

Point opened the scoring for Tampa Bay at 7:33 of the first period against Boston in the Qualifiers. 

“He doesn’t seem to put a lot of pressure on himself, but at the same time, he really does care a lot,” Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh said. 

 

Bruins projected lineup 

Brad Marchand — Patrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — Ondrej Kase

Nick RitchieCharlie CoyleAnders Bjork

Joakim NordstromSean KuralyChris Wagner

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy

Torey Krug — Brandon Carlo

Matt GrzelcykConnor Clifton

Jaroslav Halak

Dan Vladar

Scratched: Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, John Moore, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Maxime Lagace, Jeremy Lauzon, Karson Kuhlman, Par Lindholm

Unfit to play: None

 

Lightning projected lineup 

Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov

Alex KillornAnthony CirelliTyler Johnson

Barclay GoodrowYanni GourdeBlake Coleman

Pat MaroonMitchell StephensCedric Paquette

Victor HedmanZach Bogosian

Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak

Mikhail SergachevKevin Shattenkirk

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Braydon Coburn, Mathieu Joseph, Jan Rutta, Luke Schenn, Alexander Volkov, Scott Wedgewood, Carter Verhaeghe

Unfit to play: Steven Stamkos

Status report 

Stamkos continues to rehab a lower-body injury that he sustained before training camp, Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

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