The Bruins hope to take Game 2 tonight in the same fashion they took Game 1: by dominating one of the best teams in hockey in all three zones. Heading into this series the Bruins were considered the underdog, with many expecting the Lightning to handle them. But the B’s took it right to the number one seed in the conference, playing their best game of the playoffs. Now let’s take a look at what it’s going to take for the Bruins to take a commanding 2-0 heading back to Boston.
The Perfection Line Must Be Perfect
En route to a 6-2 beat down of the Bolts, “the perfection line” was, well, perfect. The Marchand/Bergeron/Pastranak line reminded the Bolts why they are the best line in hockey. The Lightning’s top line of J.T. Miller, Steven Stamkos, and Nikita Kucherov gives the team an edge against just about any other line in hockey. Except for the fact that on the other end Bergeron is heading a historically good line. In Game 1, the trio combined for 11 points, torching the Bolts in all facets of the game. Marchand scored and added three assists, Bergeron potted two goals and added a helper, while Pastranak dished out four assists continuing his phenomenal start to the postseason.
This was the best way for the Bruins to play defense against J.T. Miller, Steven Stamkos, and Nikita Kucherov. The Bolts’ top line was a minus -4 with only seven shots on goal. The Bolts are going to come out with a lot of passion in Game 2, and the Bruins have to be mindful of the elite talent of Stamkos and Kucherov. Let’s see if the Lightning can find an answer to a problem no other team has been able to.
Tuukka Rask Must Continue to Play with Passion
It’s amazing how much can change from game to game in hockey. In Game 7, when the Bruins were down 4-3, people were calling for Tuukka Rask to never start another game for the B’s. Now less than a week later, Rask just played one of his more impressive games of the season. That’s how fine the line is when you have a goalie like Rask. He needs to be engaged into every single play fighting for every single puck. When Rask is emotionally engaged he never misses an angle and makes it look effortless.
Maybe the most promising thing from Rask was after he lost his skate blade. Rask was noticeably furious throwing his broken blade against the boards. This is exactly what we need to see from Rask: some fire and fight to his game. Do not be fooled by Game 1; Tampa can flat out score and Tuukka needs to play like an elite goaltender for the B’s to win the series.
In Game 2, the Lightning are going to come out firing on all cylinders in the first period. The Bruins are going to have to weather the storm in Tampa. Rask is going to have to be ready to be able to make some big time saves tonight. The question is which Rask is going show up: Game 7 Tuukka or Game 1 Tuukka?
The Bruins Must Feed Rick Nash
Throughout his career Rick Nash has been snake bit in the playoffs. Nash only put up two points in round one against Toronto. In Game 1, Nash matched his point production from the first round, scoring two goals, and was one of the best players on the ice. Nash is one of the keys to this series. Everyone knows how good the top line is, but the Bruins need their second line to be dominant. On Saturday, everyone saw why it is so important that this line produces. Now that Nash has some confidence going and has put a couple past a Vezina candidate, the B’s must continue to feed the awoken giant. Nash can tip the balance in this series. All eyes will be on him in Game 2.
In the third period Jake Debrusk showed why this Bruins team has made it this far. He took a high hit, got right back up blocked a shot. Then, he out hustled everyone on the ice to make a diving clear of the puck. Seeing Debrusk hobble back to the bench showed what this kid and this team is made of. Later in the period Debrusk was rewarded with his sixth goal of the postseason. That is what it’s going to take to win the Stanley Cup.