2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Preview Round 2-
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.
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?
Nashville Predators Vs. Winnipeg Jets
It will be Smashville Vs The Winnipeg White Out in what could be the biggest series the NHL has ever seen to date. The Jets and their loyal will do everything they can to paint Nashville in a sea of white. But with the slick hands of Filip Forseberg and the free skating D of the Predators anchored by P.K. Subban will it be enough? Get the full preview here!
Pittsburg Penguins Vs Washington Capitals
It's Going To Be A Classic As The Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals take on the Sydney Crosby and the defending back to back Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburg Penguins. Get The Full Preview Here
Tampa Bay Lightning Vs. Boston Bruins
Two teams of the most experienced teams in the NHL are headed towards a showdown as the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Boston Bruins. It will be depth vs defense as gritty hard hitting veterans like Zdeno Chara And Brad Marchand face off against the like of Steve Stamkos and Nikita Kucherovs high scoring offence. It should be a hell of a series as playoff nerves will not be a factor for either of these veteran clubs. Get the Full Preview Here!