Just three years ago the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Eastern Conference before running out of gas in the Stanley Cup Final with a four games to two loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The following year the Lightning were upset by the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins four games to three in the Eastern Conference Final. But then incredibly enough last year the Bolts failed to make the playoffs. It was thought to be a potential blessing in disguise. The Lightning would be well rested, so went the theory, for this year’s playoffs. The wear and tear of the previous two deep playoff runs would no longer take their toll. And so far, they do appear fresh for another Stanley Cup run. Tampa Bay hosts Boston in game five of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday.
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Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game 5
Date and Time: Sunday, May 6, 2018, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
NHL Odds at BetCris: Check Back Later
Bruins vs. Lightning TV Coverage: NBC
If necessary game six of this series will be at Boston Tuesday night with a potential game seven back at Tampa Bay on Thursday evening.
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When Bruce Cassidy took over Boston midway through last season he took over a team that had tuned out the message of long time old school coach Claude Julien. Cassidy proved to be the young fresh voice that was needed to rejuvenate the energy of the Bruins and jumpstart the team with new ideas. Gone was Julien’s emphasis on the shutdown and methodically a more balanced approach was implemented. Cassidy has converted a lot of doubters by leading the B’s to second seed in the East.
Jon Cooper is celebrated as one of the top young minds in the game. Like Cassidy he took over a team that was suffocated by his predecessor, Guy Boucher. Cooper unleashed the natural talent and skill on the Lightning and made them one of the most successful and entertaining teams in the NHL.
Players to Watch
Boston left wing David Pastrnak has been on a tear this post season with five goals and 14 assists with a plus four. Fellow Bruins left wing Brad Marchand has also had the hot hand with four goals and 11 assists with a plus five. Pastrnak and Marchand were the two top Bruins scorers in the regular season. Marchand led Boston with 34 goals and 51 assists with a plus 25 while Pastrnak had 35 goals and 45 assists.
Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov has five goals and five assists in the playoffs. In the regular season Kucherov was Tampa Bay’s top scorer with 39 goals and 61 assists with a plus 15. Captain Steven Stamkos has two goals and five assists with a plus three in post season action so far. Stamkos was also a strong regular season leader with 27 goals, 49 assists and a plus 18.
Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask has struggled with a subpar post season .907 save percentage with a 2.87 goals against average.
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has been strong in the post season with a .925 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average.
Boston has held a strong advantage in their head to head series with Tampa Bay. Just two out of the last eight meetings between the Bruins and Lightning have gone over the total. At Tampa Bay the Bruins have come away with the money in nine out of their last 13 visits against the Lightning. Just three out of the last nine games at Amalie Arena between Boston and Tampa Bay have gone over the total.
Bruins vs. Lightning Free Picks
Goaltending should be the difference here with Tampa Bay and Vasilevskiy.
Bruins vs. Lightning Pick: Bet the Tampa Bay Lightning money line
Bruins vs. Lightning Score Prediction: Lightning 4, Bruins 2