Lightning-Bruins Game 3: Boston to Hold Serve Back Home

bruins lightning

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 1:20 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 1, 2018 1:20 PM UTC

The Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Lightning and Bruins switches to Boston on Wednesday night (7 ET, NBC Sports Network) with it knotted 1-1.

Game 3: Tampa Bay (1-1) at Boston (1-1)Free NHL Pick: Bruins (& Over)Best Line Offered: BetPhoenix

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The NHL has shifted into a nice rhythm of one Eastern Conference semifinal game and one from the West per night. The East matchup on Wednesday is Game 3 of the Lightning-Bruins series from Boston – the B’s got the split they wanted in Tampa to steal home-ice advantage. My cohort Dana will have a preview here at SBR of Wednesday’s Game 4 in the West between the Golden Knights & Sharks from San Jose.

Tampa Bay definitely doesn’t like playing in Boston. The Bolts are just 8-40-6 all-time there in the regular season (5-18-0 this decade) and 3-5 in the playoffs. This year, they lost both at TD Garden. On Nov. 29, it was a 3-2 Bruins win. Boston outshot the Lightning 32-12 through two periods in leading 3-1. Tuukka Rask had to make only 19 saves overall. On March 29, Boston prevailed 4-2 at home. Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and Rask made 26 saves. The Bruins outshot the Lightning 17-6 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals.

In the first round vs. Toronto, Boston was 3-1 at home, winning the clinching Game 7, 7-4. Tampa was 1-1 at New Jersey in Round 1. The Bruins and Lightning are now co-Bovada favorites to win the East at +220.

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Bruins Not Shooting Enough

Bolts goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, a Vezina candidate, was not good in the first game in allowing five goals on just 23 shots as Boston rolled to a 6-2 win. The Russian was much better in Monday’s 4-2 victory with 18 saves on 20 shots. Vasilevskiy has now allowed two goals or fewer in three of his last four outings. Tampa Bay has to be encouraged thus far in how it’s limiting Boston’s shot chances.

Tyler Johnson gave the Lightning the Game 2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish at 2-1 with his third goal of the playoffs at 10:14 of the second. Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point also scored; Point added three assists to become the youngest player in franchise history (22 years, 48 days) with a four-point playoff game. The Bolts’ No. 2 line of Point, Palat and Johnson had seven points in Game 2 after going minus-12 in Game 1.

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At 22 years and 48 days old, @BraydenPoint19 is the youngest player in @TBLightning history to record four points in a #StanleyCup Playoffs contest. #NHLStats #BOSvsTBL pic.twitter.com/gFFRTjQxFw

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 1, 2018
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Tampa Bay didn’t get a point from stars Nikita Kucherov or Steven Stamkos in Game 2. But the team killed off all three Bruins power plays, including one 5-on-3 in the first. The Lightning penalty kill was ranked 28th in the NHL during the regular season at 76.1 percent but is now 19-for-23 in the postseason.

The Bruins, who got Game 2 goals from Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug, certainly need to pepper Vasilevskiy with more shots. Boston was minus-41 in total shot attempts (78-37) in Game 1 and then minus-16 (54-38) in Game 2. The Bruins have been outshot 57-36 at even strength in the series.

"We need to get back to funneling pucks [to the net]," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said following Monday’s loss.

  • Bruins are 21-5 in their last 26 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • Bruins are 22-6 in their last 28 home games.
  • Over is 22-7 in Lightning’ last 29 games following a win.
  • Over is 11-2-4 in Bruins’ last 17 home games.

Expect a much more aggressive Bruins side on home ice, and I can’t in good faith recommend backing Tampa in Boston until the Lightning prove they can win there. Bet the B’s for a Wednesday NHL pick. Lean to the ‘over’ as well.

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