By: Lucas Salvatore | Check me out on Twitter @lsalvatore29
After beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in 7 games, the Boston Bruins jump right back into things Saturday afternoon as they head to Tampa Bay for round 2.
This might as well be the battle of the east as these two Atlantic division rivals are the number one and two seeds in the entire eastern conference. The Lightning are stacked with one of the best forward cores in the NHL as well as a Vezina candidate goaltender in Andrei Vasilevskiy and a tough defense to play against. The Bruins will have their hands full with this team if they do not have everyone firing on all cylinders. Look for the Bruins to be the team with more jump as they are coming off a game 7 victory that was only three days ago compared to the lightning having not played a game in a week. This could be a good factor for the Bruins as the team with more rest usually doesn’t do particularly well in the first game back.
Things You Need To Know
- The Bruins were 3-1 against the Lightning this season
- Tuukka Rask has a 0.899 save percentage in the first round
- Ryan Callahan has been nursing an injury expect him to play in game 1
- Nikita Kucherov scored 10 points in 5 games during the first round
Player To Watch
Jake DeBrusk: Boston game 7 hero will need to continue his excellent play as we head into round 2. Depth will be a huge factor in this series as it should be expected that the top lines of both Boston and Tampa Bay will be matched up throughout most of this series. This sets the stage for DeBrusk and his lines mates to take center stage and help the Bruins reach round 3. As we saw against Toronto Jake was capable of creating plays out of nothing by just using his relentless effort to want the puck this rookie lives for big moments and Bruins fans should be expecting more of the same from playoff Jake DeBrusk.
Tuukka Rask: After a disappointing game 7 where many speculated Rask would be pulled heading into the 3rd-period head coach Bruce Cassidy decided to let his star goalie fight through his struggles which may be just what the doctor ordered for Tuukka and the Bruins. Rask needs to be better and what else could be a better opportunity for him to get his game back to where it needs to be. Tuukka has been stellar against the Lightning throughout his career and fans should expect nothing less than fantastic goaltending from Rask. Outplaying Vasilevskiy will be crucial for the Bruins so they need Rask to bounce back in a huge way which should be expected heading into game 1.
Andrei Vasilevskiy: This monster of a goalie will be staring down the Bruins offense for the next few games, and this should have fans terrified. After reports came out that Andrei was feeling tired throughout the end of the regular season, he struggled, but looking at his first round numbers suggest that he is rested and ready to go posting a 0.941 save percentage and a 1.55 GAA. He is a very athletic goaltender and is just a brick wall when he is on his game. He has struggled against Boston throughout his career but regular season numbers do not matter in the playoffs. Look for the Bruins to be sending a lot of traffic his way and be shooting from the point in looks for tips or rebounds in front.
Nikita Kucherov: Whenever a player scores 100 points in a season he should be a force to be reckoned with, and this is no exceptions with Kucherov. One of the NHL most electrifying players will cause the Bruins some problems it is inevitable, but it is how the Bruins will contain him that will decide this series. Look for him to be paired against Zdeno Chara for this entire series just like Auston Matthews was in round 1. The mix of him and Steven Stamkos is a nightmare so the Bruins will need to stay out of the box and keep them on the outside at all times if they expect to keep Tampa off the scoreboard. The only problem is if you do shut down Kucherov there are so many other weapons on this Lightning team that it might not matter. Look for the Bruins to tighten up defensively in this series or else it will be a short-lived second round appearance.