The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have been on a collision course all season as Beast of the East. On the last night of the regular season all the Bruins needed was a win on home ice over the Florida Panthers to clinch top seed in the Eastern Conference. But Boston blew the game which meant that top seed in the East fell into the lap of the Lightning. Now the teams will meet in the best of seven Eastern Conference semifinal series to settle the score once and for all. The winner will move on to the Eastern Conference Final to meet the winner of the series between the Washington Capitals and two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
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Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Game One
Date and Time: Saturday, April 28, 2018, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa Bay, Florida
NHL Odds at Betcris: Check Back Later
Bruins vs. Lightning TV Coverage: NBC
Boston escaped a near disaster against Toronto as they held a 3-1 series lead only to blow the next two games. Trailing 4-3 at home heading into the third period of game seven the Bruins rallied with four goals to avoid blowing the series. Tampa Bay dispatched of the New Jersey Devils in perfunctory fashion four games to one.
Games one and two of this series will be at Amalie Arena. The third and fourth games will be at Boston. If necessary game five returns to Tampa Bay, with game six at Boston. If a final game seven is needed it will be at Tampa Bay.
Players to Watch
Boston center Patrice Bergeron is arguably their best player but was not one hundred percent in the series against the Leafs. Yet Bergeron still managed one goal and seven assists with a plus four. In the regular season Bergeron had 30 goal sand 33 assists with a plus 21. Defenseman Torey Krug tied game seven against Toronto with a bomb early in the third period that changed the entire completion of the game. Krug had two goals and seven assists against the Maple Leafs. In the regular seasons the Bruins top defenseman had 14 goals and 45 assists.
Tampa Bay right wing Nikita Kucherov was dominant in the first round against New Jersey with five goals, five assists and a plus two. In the regular season he was the top scorer on the Bolts with 39 goals and 61 assists with a plus 15. Center Alex Killorn added four goals and one assist in the first round. Team captain Steven Stamkos provided one goal, five assists and a plus four. Stamkos is the marquee man on Tampa Bay and had 27 goals and 59 assists with a plus 18 in the regular season.
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had a .920 save percentage with eight shutouts in the regular season. In the first round of the playoffs he was even better with a dominant .941 save percentage.
Boston’s Tuukka Rask was subpar for much of the opening round with a save percentage of .899 but came up clutch when it mattered most. In the regular season he was at .917.
Boston has dominated the cashier’s cage in their head to head series with Tampa Bay with eight payouts in the last ten meetings. The Bruins and Lightning have gone over the total in just three of their last 12 meetings. At Amalie Arena the Bruins have won eight of their last 11 visits against the Bolts with just two of the last five meetings in this series at Tampa Bay going over the total.
Bruins vs. Lightning Free Picks
Vasilevskiy has been the far superior goaltender this year. Boston could likely still be spent from a tough and dramatic high wire act of an opening round.
Bruins vs. Lightning Pick: Bet the Tampa Bay Lightning money line
Bruins vs. Lightning Score Prediction: Lightning 3, Bruins 1