The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning continue their Eastern Conference Semifinal series tonight with Game 2 in Toronto. The Bruins will be looking for their fourth straight playoff victory, while the Lightning will be looking to even the score after the Bruins 3-2 victory in Game 1 on Sunday night.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm on NBCSN, CBC, and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
WILL HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF?
The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning last met in the playoffs in 2018. That spring, the Bruins dominated Game 1 and jumped out to a 1-0 series lead in the series. Is history set to repeat itself in 2020? Bruce Cassidy doesn’t believe so. The coach doesn’t see many similarities other than the series score.
“Well not a lot to be honest,” Cassidy told reporters on Monday. “I think both teams have grown since then, some different personnel. For me, it was more in reference that Game 1 is not going to dictate the whole series typically. Hey, it’s great if we go out there and put together three periods like our first period. But they had push back as the game went on. If I remember the game two years ago, they never got back into it and after that, they came at us much harder.”
For Cassidy, the push back last night from the Lightning on Sunday night is far more relevant that 2018.
“I thought they competed hard last night. Just maybe not right from the first whistle on as ready as we are. But that happens to teams,” Cassidy continued. “But they were certainly physical and trying to play behind us and finish checks when they could all over the ice. So at the end of the day two years ago doesn’t matter, only in the essence that you win the first game you can’t get too comfortable, you put it behind you like I said and you worry about the next one.”
BLUE LINE BOND
Zdeno Chara and his role with the Boston Bruins have both come under fire from some observers in recent seasons. The captain, while not the Norris Trophy winner of a decade ago, is still an incredibly valuable piece for the Bruins. Just ask Charlie McAvoy, the man many believe is the next big defenseman in Boston.
“I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to learn under this guy,” McAvoy said on Monday. “He’s as good as anyone in the entire league to learn under. I’ve learned so many lessons on the ice and off the ice and like I said, it’s something that I don’t take for granted. I’m extremely blessed and fortunate to learn under this guy and to have him as a friend and a teammate.”
Cassidy agrees that Chara is a terrific mentor and serves a big role for the Bruins young defensemen.
“Zee is a good tutor, he’s a student of the game, you know a true professional. So the off-ice part is amazing for the young guys to see why guys last in this league,” Cassidy said Monday. “You know I put other guys on our team in that category as well, how they train after games, in-between days like today, to get better. No days off so to speak for those guys.
“And then on the ice, you’re seeing a bit of the passing of the torch now right, like Charlie is playing more minutes, playing in all situations, things that Zee did years ago in his prime, so that’s an interesting dynamic as well, how they help each other, and there’s really no competition in that regard, so maybe like a big brother little brother kind of thing.”
LIGHTNING LOOKING TO “MAKE IT HARDER”
The Tampa Bay Lightning appeared to ease their way into Game 1 on Sunday night. That won’t be something they can do if they expect to advance. Another thing the Lightning admittedly must improve? Making life tougher for the Boston Bruins.
“They’re a good team over there. There’s a reason why they go far in the playoffs every year and they have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup every year,” Patrick Maroon said on Monday. “For me, personally, I think it’s the same team I feel like we’ve been playing last year. For our team, we’ve just got to focus on our game and make sure we get to our game first and dictate the play right away.
“We didn’t make it hard on them last game, so we’ve just got to find way to create holes and create those opportunities and second and third opportunities and making sure we’re breaking them down.”
BOSTON BRUINS LINES
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Ondrej Kase
Nick Ritchie – Charlie Coyle – Anders Bjork
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk – Connor Clifton
Boston Bruins lines are subject to change. Halak will get the start, while Clifton remains in for Jeremy Lauzon. Lines are based on Game 1.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING LINES
Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow – Yanni Gourde – Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon – Cedric Paquette – Carter Verhaeghe
Victor Hedman – Zach Bogosian
Braydon Coburn – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Kevin Shattenkirk
Tampa Bay Lightning lines are subject to change. Vasilevskiy is expected to start the first half of this back-to-back set. Jon Cooper has hinted that Curtis McElhinney could play in Game 3 on Wednesday. McDonagh will miss Game 2 with an injury. He left Game 1 on Sunday and did not return. Cooper confirmed that McDonagh will be out on Tuesday morning. Braydon Coburn is expected to join the lineup in his absence.