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Lightning Round: Bolts start Round Two with a game against Boston tonight

Dallas defeated Colorado in the opening game of the second round.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Yesterday the Tampa Bay Lightning held the last press conference before their opening game of Round Two against the Boston Bruins. Steven Stamkos’ availability was one of the most popular topics, however Jon Cooper immediately indicated that the Lightning captain is still in rehab and the Lightning will let everyone know when he will be ready.

Cooper has also said that he can’t really compare Anthony Cirelli to the Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron at this moment, but hopes that trajectory of his career will follow in the same direction.

Ryan McDonagh and Barclay Goodrow also attended the press conference, Goodrow had been asked about the last regular season meeting between the Lightning and the Bruins, when Goodrow collected 11 penalty minutes.

Yesterday Dom Luszczyszyn of the Athletic presented his preview of the upcoming series. From a statistical point of view, both teams ranked between the best teams in the league, which means that the series will be a very tight [The Athletic, paid content]

While Tampa Bay probably has the edge at even strength, Boston has a pretty decisive special teams advantage in this series, especially if the Lightning once again struggle to draw power plays while staying out of the box themselves. That was a real problem against Columbus and it may rear its head against a team like Boston that plays with an edge and has a great grasp on where the line is in the playoffs. The Lightning have a great power play but the Bruins scored nearly a goal per 60 more there during the season. It’s a similar story on the penalty kill too and it’s there where the Bruins should be able to close the gap considerably to make this an even series.

Yesterday’s Results

Dallas Stars 5-3 Colorado Avalanche – Stars lead series 1-0

Before the start of the yesterday’s game, the Avalanche were the obvious favourite of the series: the Avs have smashed the Arizona Coyotes in the first round in five games, which could have easily been a four-game series, if not Darcy Kuemper’s stellar performance in Game 3, while the Stars had a slow start in the “bubble“.

Tyler Seguin opened the scoring four minutes into the game, scoring his first goal of this year’s playoffs. Nathan MacKinnon tied the game just a minute later but the Stars quickly responded with a Blake Comeau goal, taking the lead back. Alex Radulov scored another goal for Dallas at the end of the period and both teams went to the locker room with a 3-1 score in favor of the Stars. The Avs cut the lead to one goal at the start of the second period, when Gabriel Landeskog took advantage of the chaos in front of the net and slid the puck in past Anton Khudobin. A one goal advantage didn’t last long, as Radulov scored four minutes later, finishing off the rebound after Seguin’s shot. MacKinnon managed to score another goal at the end of the second period, redirecting Samuel Girard’s shot and bringing his team within one goal. The Stars continued to be slightly better in the third period, Roope Hintz scored the fifth goal for his team and Dallas took a 1-0 lead in the series.

Additionally the Avs have lost Erik Johnson and Philipp Grubauer to injuries, which might be significant later in the series.

Today’s Games

Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

8:00 PM ET; NBC, TVAS, SN

The clash of two of arguably the best teams in the league is expected to be tight and fun for fans of both teams and also neutral fans. We’ll see whose absence is more crucial for his team: Steven Stamkos on the top Lightning’s power play unit or Tuukka Rask’s in the Bruins net.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Vegas Golden Knights

10:30 PM ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, SN

The Canucks have already upset the last year’s Stanley Cup Winner in the second round and are looking to face another strong team from the top of Western Conference. However, unlike the St. Louis Blues, the Golden Knights have lost just one game in Edmonton and might be a very tough opponent for Vancouver.

Other News and Notes

Reportedly Mike Milbury has been sent home after sexist comments during the NBC broadcast.

Last night Marc-Andre Fleury’s agent Allan Welsh posted a picture of his client pierced by a sword with a name of the Golden Knights head coach on it, probably addressing Peter DeBoer’s choice of Robin Lehner over Fleury as a starting goalie for Game 1 of the second round series against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Golden Knight later met with Marc-Andre Fleury to make sure it won’t be an issue and Fleury remained as a backup for tonight’s game..