The Bruins took game 1 of this second-round series, winning 3-2. Not only is game 2 critical for both teams, but it’s also the first game of back-to-back games. With a condensed timetable to complete the playoffs, back-to-back games are something every team will need to deal with. A Game 2 victory for the Bruins with a quick turnaround gives them a stranglehold on momentum in the series. Look for both teams to roll all four lines and defensive pairs as they try to keep their top guys fresh for game 3. For projected lineups, click here for an article covering both games today.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Not only did Tampa lose game 1 but they also lost another key part of their lineup. Already without star center Steven Stamkos, Tampa will now be without defenseman Ryan McDonagh. After suffering an injury in period three of game one, McDonagh will be out for game two. With a quick turnaround, McDonagh might even be out for game three. Not only is he Tampa’s leader in ice time, but he also leads them in shorthanded ice time as well. Brayden Coburn will likely be called on to fill some of the void in his first playoff action.
Pastrnak enters game two with a shot at making some history. With a point in today’s game, Pasta will become the seventh active player with 50 playoff points before his 50th playoff game. You can view a more detailed article here including the other names on the list. Along with rolling, all four lines look for the Bruins to play a more defensive game. Halak faced 37 shots in game one so look for the Bruins to try and give him an easier night, keeping him fresh for game three.
What to Watch for
First up is Tampa’s top line. Despite firing 13 shots on goal, none of them made it through Halak. Look for this line to be active early and try to grab an early lead. Next up is the Bruins power play. The Bruins went 1 for 3 in the last game on the power play but loomed to take advantage of McDonagh being out. If Tampa has trouble staying out of the box, the Bruins could take control of the game. Finally the depth of both teams. With back-to-back games twice in this series, look for both teams to spread the minutes around if the score allows it. Look for guys like Coyle and Kase for the Bruins and Johnson and Colman for Tampa to see a larger role.
Look for both teams to try to take an early lead. With back-to-back games taking an early lead allows either team to save some energy by playing a more defensive style. Both goalies will need to be sharp from puck drop. The Bruins looked like the better team for the majority of game one, so look for Tampa to be aggressive right from the start. With some key injuries on Tampa, I think the Bruins walk away with another win tonight. A 2-0 series lead heading into game three tomorrow could be too much for Tampa to overcome. As always, stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!
Featured image courtesy of Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP.