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Game day thread and preview: Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, Round 2 Game 4

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The Lightning have the opportunity to take the lead tonight, but every other series is at evens.

RxlandS

Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Round 2, Game 3

Time: 7:00 PM Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast / Streaming: NBCSN (Stream), CBC, TVA Sports

Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Preview:

The Lightning’s game three performance was impressive... most impressive. They struck quick, taking advantage of a mistake for the first goal and cycling the puck around for a redirection for the second — and that was all they needed. They took the lead early and held on to it. The only goal Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up was a scrambled play, shorthanded. Which is very impressive considering the second and third period saw the Bruins come out with a head of steam. The Bruins put up their best possession numbers of the whole series.

For the Lightning going into game four, the question will be if they can continue the puck possession dominance they’ve displayed in the first three games of the series. The Bruins got the last change in game three and were able to pick their match-ups. With the Point line dominating the Bruins’ second line, Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was forced to send the Bergeron line back against the Point line. Also known as, exactly the same match-ups that Jon Cooper used in game one and two when he controlled the match-ups.

It will be interesting to see if the Bruins decide to make some line-up changes to find something that clicks. One of their problems right now is that their depth is not scoring. Only three of their nine goals have been scored by non-top line, non-top two defensemen. And all three of those goals came in the first game: two from Rick Nash, and an empty netter from Jake Debrusk.

When the first line isn’t scoring, they don’t have a whole lot going for them. Meanwhile, the Lightning’s first line isn’t scoring, but the second and third line are doing work. The fourth line has also been close to cashing in and have been spending basically all of their time on ice in the Bruins zone.

The Lightning have an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the series. They took back home ice advantage with their game three win, so they’re already in good shape. With a win, they would take a 3-1 lead (and be the first team in the second round to get to three wins), and have an opportunity to once again close out a series in five games. But I don’t expect it to be easy for the Lightning. The Bruins know where they’re at and they’re going to be desperate to tie up the series tonight.

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