By: Lucas Pearson | Follow Me On Twitter @LucasPearson_
After as good of a first game you could wish for, this series has gone to shambles for the Bruins. They lost a hard fought, OT bout in Game 2 and since then, the series has been an absolute mess. Game 3 may have been the worst show I’ve seen the Bruins put on in years. To show zero effort when your goalie is making his NHL debut is pitiful. I expected a much better performance in Game 4 and while it was a better performance, it wasn’t enough. The physicality was kinda there, the intensity was kinda there, the offense was kinda there (might be being a bit generous) and the goaltending was kinda there. But it was not enough to beat a team as good as Tampa Bay. So what do the Bruins have to do to win this series?
Cut Down on the Penalties
Over the past two games, the Bruins have taken 11 penalties, four of which have been capitalized on by Tampa. That is not how you win hockey games. You win hockey games by having self control. With how many agitators the Lightning have, it’s incredibly important for the Bruins to be disciplined. If you’re going to lose to the Lightning, let them beat you with their speed and skill, not by them getting under your skin.
Halak Needs to be Better
Halak has made a couple excellent saves this series, but he’s also been prone to give up some softies. When your goalie lets up a weak goal, it really deflates the team. That’s exactly what its done to the Bruins. The team’s usual resilience hasn’t been there to make up for Jaro’s mistakes. In their last three losses, the Slovakian has an .866 save percentage and has given up four goals twice. It’ll be no easy task, but Halak is going to need to show up big time.
He’ll make a save like this
Then let in this.
Produce at Even Strength
It’s been the Bruins biggest problem for an eternity. They have scored a grand total of four even strength goals in the four games and haven’t scored a single five on five goal since Game 2. They have way too much talent up and down the lineup to be hanging goose eggs at even strength. I’d expect Cassidy to play some of the young, hungry players in Game 5. I think we see Anders Bjork and Jack Studnicka draw back into the lineup and someone like Trent Frederic could get a look too. David Pastrnak should get in some reps with David Krejci or Charlie Coyle to spread the wealth a little bit.
Shut Down Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov
Brayden Point has been a beast this series. He has a point in every game and is up to six in the series. Kucherov has a similar stat line with two goals and four assists. A big reason why the Blue Jackets were able to surprise the Lightning last season was because they were able to hold off Tampa’s stars. A goal and -5 rating for Point, two assists and -4 for Kucherov, and Stamkos (who the Bruins haven’t had to deal with) had two points and was a -8. Zach Werenski and Seth Jones put on a defensive clinic and suppressed all of Tampa’s star power. Charlie McAvoy and company need to be on their A-game and replicate CBJ’s success.
The Bs are too good of a team to drop four in a row to anyone. I’m expecting a great game from everyone in the lineup. 3-2 Bruins win, go Bs.