Lightning-Bruins Game 4: Boston Better Play with Sense of Urgency

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, May 3, 2018 1:42 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 3, 2018 1:42 PM UTC

The Tampa Bay Lightning have won back-to-back games in their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Bruins and look for a commanding 3-1 lead Friday night in Boston.

Game 4: Tampa Bay (2-1) at Boston (1-2)Free NHL Pick: Bruins (& Over)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Few teams in NHL history have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a Stanley Cup playoff series. That will be the hole the Boston Bruins find themselves in Friday night if they don’t win Game 4 of their series at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s a 7 p.m. ET puck drop on the NBC Sports Network.

Wednesday’s 4-1 loss was Boston’s second in its past three at home. With a chance to finish off Toronto in Game 5 during the first round at TD Garden, the Bruins lost 4-3 and that would eventually force Boston to play a Game 7 at home as well. The B’s won that 7-4 but had to rally from a 4-3 third-period deficit. The Lightning, meanwhile, have won back-to-back games for the third time in these playoffs but have yet to win three in a row. They took Games 1-2 vs. New Jersey, lost Game 3, and won Games 4-5. Then the Bolts dropped the opener of this series before taking the past two.

Tampa last won three straight games from March 18-22, beating Edmonton, Toronto and the NY Islanders (that on the road). Boston last lost three in a row right near the end of the regular season, April 1-5 (at Flyers, at Lightning, at Panthers), which basically cost this team the No. 1 seed in the East and home-ice advantage in this series.

On the BetOnline series line, Tampa is now -275 and Boston +230.

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Palat Hero of Game 3

When you are this deep into the playoffs, you probably aren’t going to win allowing four goals. That’s what Boston has done the past two games as Tuukka Rask has been outplayed by Andrei Vasilevskiy, who had 28 saves in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory. Tampa jumped on Rask for two goals within the first 3:19 of the game, both by Ondrej Palat, who was named the No. 1 star.

Those were the fastest pair of goals to open a playoff game in franchise history and in any NHL postseason game since 1996. Palat’s duo was the seventh-fastest in league postseason history. The Bolts also got goals from Anthony Cirelli and an empty-netter from Steven Stamkos to win for just the 10th time in 54 visits to TD Garden.

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Ondrej Palat of the @TBLightning scored twice in the opening 3:19 of Game 3, the seventh-fastest two goals by one player to begin a playoff game in NHL history. #NHLStats #TBLvsBOS #StanleyCup

— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 3, 2018

On the bright side, Boston was 1-for-1 on the power play, with Patrice Bergeron scoring at 14:12 of the first to make it 2-1 – with Cirelli to extend the lead again just over two minutes later. It was the fourth straight game Bergeron had at least a point and he has 13 of them in these playoffs. Boston again took too many penalties, allowing the Lightning five power-play chances.

There’s some talk that Coach Bruce Cassidy could make a lineup change or two for Game 4 because he’s not getting production outside of his first line. Cassidy made one change for Game 3, adding Tommy Wingels to the fourth line. The right winger had been a healthy scratch in six of the Bruins’ first nine playoff games. Wingels was minus-1 in 11:24 in Game 3.

  • Bruins are 21-6 in their last 27 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
  • Lightning are 8-33-4 in the last 45 meetings in Boston.

This writer thought Boston would win Game 3 because it has been so dominant at home vs. Tampa Bay. The Bruins have to win this one because the Lightning aren’t going to cough up a 3-1 lead with two still at home. Take Boston for a Friday NHL pick.

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