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2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Preview Round 2-

Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Boston Bruins

Regular Season Record ( 3-1-0 Bruins)

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished the regular season first overall in wins and scoring, having netted 17 more goals then the next best team. The Lightning have shown the type of scoring talent that is only rivalled by teams like the back to back Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, they just manage to do it without the all the flashiness of superstars.

 

If there was any sign of weakness it would be on defense. They allowed 236 goals over the course of the season, which puts them at 13th in the league. This isn't terrible mind you.

However, we start to have pause for concern when we see that they also allowed the 10th most shots on goal over the course of this past season with the 6th most shots on net since January 1st.

Now the bleeding doesn't come without a few bad-aids, the Lightning have been able to rely on goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who performed well enough this season to put himself in the running for the Vezina trophy. Yet where we see the shots on goal get worse near the tail-end of the season, we also see Vasilevskiy starting to hit the skid off as well.

If the Lightning can make sure that they  protect their goalie, he will have their backs and the Lighting should be in a fantastic position to succeed.

As for the Bruins, what a wild series we just had, where something must be said for the slipping, something must also be said for the way they were able to corral themselves and pull off the win.

There's a reason why the Lightning twitter account put out a poll that said: Who would you rather face in round 2 round the Boston Bruins Or The Toronto Maple Leafs? 82% of Tampa fans selected the Maple Leafs. The back-sliding by the Bruins isn't going to fool anyone.

Lightning fans know that although their team finished number 1 overall in the league, they still lost 3 out of 4 times to the Bruins.  The Boston Bruins ability to bend, but not break under-pressure is one of their strongest assets and most dangerous tool..

It takes discipline that comes from having experienced coaching as well as veteran captains that have the ability to control their team when things start to get a little bit hairy.

They can also credit, one of the best lines in Hockey, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak who combined for a +- of +10 in the regular season at even strength.

That line can also take credit, for roaring their team back to life in game 7 in order to put  the Toronto Maple Leafs  away with 4 goals in the third period.

 I think we can all agree that if the Bruins are going to have a fighting chance, they need some consistency in net. In round 1, the best Tuuka Rask was able to put up was a .294 goals-against average.

The Bruins are going to need to give Rask some help to cover his insufficiency, as well as save themselves from too many compromising penalties, it seems they have to kill multiple unnecessary penalties every game. But that's just how Boston plays Hockey come playoff time. There are no easy shifts with the Bruins.

This is definitely going to be an exciting series there will be lots of scoring, hitting, and maybe even a tilt or 2, and the outcome could still fall either way.

What more could you want from a playoff series?

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