3 Keys: Lightning vs. Bruins, Game 4 of Eastern Second Round

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No. 2 Lightning vs. No. 4 Bruins

Noon ET; NBC, SN, TVAS

Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series, 2-1

Jaroslav Halak is expected to start for the Boston Bruins when they try to even the best-of-7, Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Tampa Lightning at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Saturday.

Halak was pulled at 11:18 of the second period in a 7-1 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday after allowing four goals on 16 shots. Dan Vladar made 12 saves on 15 shots in relief in his NHL debut.

Halak has lost his past two starts after winning his previous four since goalie Tuukka Rask opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Aug. 15.

Andrei Vasilevskiy likely will start for the Lightning. He has started all 11 postseason games and is 8-3-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

Forward Nikita Kucherov, who has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past two games, needs one goal to pass Martin St. Louis for the most playoff goals in Lightning history. Kucherov has 33 goals in 76 postseason games. 

The game was rescheduled from Friday after the players on the eight remaining teams decided not to play as a form of protest against systemic racism and police brutality.

Here are 3 keys for Game 4: 

 

1. Boston’s response 

Prior to Game 3, the Bruins lost by at least six goals once this season (9-3 to the Vancouver Canucks, Feb. 22).

Coach Bruce Cassidy said the Bruins will put that in the past and look to even the series.

“We’re licking our wounds today,” Cassidy said Thursday. “But we’ll be better.”

 

2. Lightning must stay hungry 

Tampa Bay has controlled the play in most of this series, including in its only loss (3-2 in Game 1 on Sunday). The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime in Game 2 on Tuesday before the victory Wednesday. 

Lightning coach Jon Cooper called Game 3 an “aberration.”

“It’s not the first one to two [wins], it’s the first one to four,” he said.

 

3. Surging power plays

The Bruins have scored one power-play goal in each of the first three games. Brad Marchand scored their only power-play goal in Game 3, giving him seven goals in his past seven games.

The Lightning were 3-for-6 on the power play in Game 3 and scored on three straight chances after failing to convert on their first opportunity of the game. Before those three goals, Tampa Bay had not scored on its previous 17 power-play opportunities.

“We’ve been on the wrong end of those pretty much this entire playoffs,” Cooper said. “Probably as many power plays [in Game 3] as we’ve had in a couple weeks combined, and you have to take advantage of them.”

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej PalatBrayden Point — Nikita Kucherov

Alex KillornAnthony CirelliTyler Johnson

Barclay GoodrowYanni GourdeBlake Coleman

Pat MaroonCedric Paquette

Victor HedmanKevin Shattenkirk

Mikhail SergachevErik Cernak

Braydon CoburnZach Bogosian

Luke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Mathieu Joseph, Jan Rutta, Alexander Volkov, Scott Wedgewood, Mitchell Stephens, Carter Verhaeghe

Unfit to play: Steven Stamkos, Ryan McDonagh
 

 

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand — Patrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciOndrej Kase

Nick RitchieCharlie CoyleChris Wagner

Joakim NordstromPar Lindholm

Zdeno CharaCharlie McAvoy

Torey KrugBrandon Carlo

Matt GrzelcykJeremy Lauzon

John Moore

Jaroslav Halak

Dan Vladar

Scratched: Trent Frederic, Zach Senyshyn, Urho Vaakanainen, Jakub Zboril, Maxime LagaceKarson Kuhlman, Anders Bjork, Connor Clifton

Unfit to play: Sean Kuraly

 

Status report

McDonagh and Kuraly each was unfit to play Game 3 and is uncertain for Game 4. … Each team used seven defensemen in Game 3.

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