Game Day Preview: Bruins-Lightning Game 2
TAMPA — The Boston Bruins already accomplished one task by winning their first of two on the road to start their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Now, they look to put the Bolts in a deep 2-0 hole before the series shifts back to Boston.
Saturday’s 6-2 final wasn’t indicative of how close the two teams played each other. The Lightning had a distinct zone time and puck possession advantage, but the Bruins kept them away from the prime scoring areas and Tuukka Rask (34 saves) made some solid and timely stops en route to his best performance of the playoffs.
With Rask’s play, the top line’s dominance and Rick Nash breaking out of his slump with a two-goal outing, the opportunistic Bruins — despite a slow first 10 minutes in Game 1 — look to carry over their momentum into Game 2. The Lightning developed a good blueprint against the Bruins, however, and look to get Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and the rest of their highly-skilled roster going in front of their home crowd Monday night.
“Yeah it was huge,” Matt Grzelcyk said pregame. “We know that they’re going to come out with a lot more intensity in their D zone I’m sure. I thought we were sharp offensively, obviously, but this series you need to clean up and we’ve addressed that over the last two days or so. So, we’re just hoping to come out with a little more energy to start and that’s a key focus for us.”
Gametime: 7 p.m.
TV/Radio: NBCSN/98.5 The Sports Hub
Series: Bruins lead 1-0
Location: Amalie Arena
Bruins projected lines
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk-David Krejci-Rick Nash
Danton Heinen-Sean Kuraly-David Backes
Tim Schaller-Riley Nash-Noel Acciari
Zdeno Chara-Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug-Kevan Miller
Matt Grzelcyk-Adam McQuaid
Lightning projected lines
J.T. Miller-Steven Stamkos-Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat-Brayden Point-Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn-Anthony Cirelli-Yanni Gourde
Chris Kunitz-Cedric Paquette-Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman-Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh-Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn-Mikhail Sergachev
Bruins-Lightning Game 2 storylines
– Rask, Kevan Miller, and David Krejci were all given maintenance days on Sunday. Again, barring any last-minute developments, the trio will give it a go for Game 2. Both Krejci and Miller skated during the optional skate at Amalie Arena Monday morning.
– One notable switch that Bruce Cassidy made in Game 1 was swapping Riley Nash with Sean Kuraly. So what went into that switch? Was it the struggles of Nash since coming back from his concussion and Kuraly’s solid play? Was it trying to spark some chemistry? Or did it have to do with matchups?
“The play of those two individuals for the most part, and who they’re matched up against,” Cassidy said during his pregame press conference. “We can only preplan so much, and obviously they have the last change. So if it’s Kucherov and Stamkos then Nash has been a good 200-foot player for us all year and Kuraly is a guy who we trust in particular with different type of styles — and Riley is a little more methodical with his approach, and Sean is about taking away time and space. So, whatever the best fit is will probably determine that.”
Nash brings more experience, but Kuraly is just as versatile. That, again, is a good problem for Cassidy.
– The top line deserves all the accolades, but the Bruins have gotten plenty of secondary scoring to compliment Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak. Fourteen different scorers have lit the lamp in their eight postseason games. The Bergeron line was held off the scoresheet in their three losses against the Maple Leafs. They’ll have their chances for sure, but there will be a time where players like Rick Nash, Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Danton Heinen (to name a few) need to carry the team in the scoring department. The Bergeron line always gets plenty of attention, but the B’s depth might need to win a game or two in this series, and it wouldn’t be surprising if that came Monday night.