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Game day thread and preview: Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Round 2 Game 3

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Keep it up.

RxlandS

Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Round 2, Game 2

Time: 7:00 PM Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast / Streaming: NBCSN (link to NBC stream), CBC, TVA Sports,

Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Preview:

The Bruins came in to Tampa on Saturday and took game one from the Lightning. Can the Lightning reciprocate in game three?

The Lightning have played good possession hockey in the first two games of the series where they’ve controlled the line matching. Can they keep that up when Boston gets the last change and decides these matches?

Vasilevskiy has let in a few goals that he might want back, but came up with some big saves in game two. Rask has looked shaky at times, but came up with some big saves in game one. Which goalie will be better?

Going into the third game of the series, these are the big questions we’re asking. After losing the first game at home, the Lightning have to win at least one game in Boston to win the series. For the first two games, the Lightning have had the last change and controlled the line matches. Their favorable matches have allowed them to control puck possession by an incredible margin.

According to Natural Stat Trick, in game one, only Pastrnak and Bergeron got out of the game with a 50% Corsi For Percentage (CF%). Everyone else was under 50%. Noel Acciari got so caved in by the Lightning that he finished with a whopping 0% CF% allowing 14 shot attempts and getting none while he was on the ice.

Game two wasn’t quite as extreme in possession for the Lightning, partly because of actually leading more of the game, but only Krejci, Nash, Marchand, and Bergeron ended at 50% or better. Possession machine Acciari improved from 0% to 12.5% as the Bruins had one shot when he was on ice and allowed seven shot attempts.

I suspect that the Bruins will start by sending the Bergeron line against Stamkos and the Krejci line against Point. My opinion is that it will go pretty well for the Bergeron line, but the Krejci line could be in trouble. Krejci’s line has mostly gone up against the Stamkos and Cirelli lines. They’ve been right in the middle of the possession numbers for the Bruins in the first two games. They’ll be going up against a much more difficult line to play against if they’re tasked to take on the Point line.

It will be important for the Lightning to continue to impose their will on the Bruins even without their choice of line matching. They’ve possessed the puck well and controlled the play. Some bad defensive coverage aside in game one, the Lightning have played some really good hockey. It’s the kind of hockey that will win a lot more games than you lose if you play every game that way. But that can all be offset by the performances of goaltenders, good and bad, on either end of the ice.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Lineup notes: [pending morning skate]

Forward Lines:

J.T. Miller - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Yanni Gourde

Chris Kunitz - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Defense Pairings:

Victor HedmanDan Girardi

Ryan McDonaghAnton Stralman

Braydon CoburnMikhail Sergachev

Goaltenders:

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Boston Bruins

Lineup notes: [pending morning skate]

Forwards:

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Rick Nash

Danton Heinen - Riley Nash - David Backes

Tim Schaller - Sean Kuraly - Noel Acciari

Defense:

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Kevan Miller

Matt Grzelcyk - Adam McQuaid

Goaltenders:

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin