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Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: Back-to-backs in the playoffs are now a thing

This will be the Lightning’s biggest test of the playoffs.

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning: ROUND 2, GAME 2

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Scotiabank Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, SUN, FS-O, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder


We probably won’t see back-to-backs in the Stanley Cup playoffs after this year, but these are different times. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins will play the first half of a back-to-back tonight and the last thing the Lightning will want to do is emerge from these two games in a giant hole down three games in the series.

The Bruins ran the show for most of Game 1, but the Lightning did get stronger and even attempted a comeback as the game progressed. Again, sloppy penalties proved to be costly for the Bolts — as did their invisible powerplay, which went 0-for-3.

Although Ryan McDonagh, who left Game 1 with an injury, didn’t practice yesterday, there is a chance he could get back into the lineup tonight:

If McDonagh is unable to go, expect Braydon Coburn to draw back into the lineup. Coburn makes the most sense as a left-handed defenseman. The only other options on the roster are right handed defensemen Luke Schenn and Luke Witkowski. Jan Rutta, another right hander, is unfit to play. Coburn can step in next to Erik Cernak and form a third pair. Kevin Shattenkirk would likely see his ice time increase from the 17:13 he’s averaged over the past five games with him and Mikhail Sergachev becoming the second pair for the Lightning.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will probably start both games of the back-to-back, unless, of course, tonight’s game goes to multiple overtimes. He was solid in the Game 1 loss, but if his play dips, the Lightning are in trouble. At the other end of the ice, Jaroslav Halak was essentially unbeatable to anyone not named Victor Hedman on Sunday, so the Lightning are going to have to get creative in order to get their offensive players going.

Where the Blue Jackets were much more passive and stifling, the Bruins are aggressive at both ends of the ice and the Lightning did struggle to stem the tide at times in Game 1. That has to change if they want tie up this series and eventually win it. This Lightning team is more than capable of doing so, but they have to prove that they are the same team that beat the Bruins three times in the regular season.

Tampa Bay Lightning


Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman

Carter Verhaeghe - Cedric Paquette - Patrick Maroon

Mitchell Stephens, Alexander Volkov, Mathieu Joseph

Injured: Steven Stamkos

Defense Pairs

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn

Injured: Jan Rutta


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Boston Bruins


Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Ondrej Kase

Sean Kuraly - Charlie Coyle - Anders Bjork

Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm - Chris Wagner

Defense Pairs

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton


Jaroslav Halak

Dan Vladar