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Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: It’s time to close out the series

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They can’t let the Bruins back into it.

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

Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning: ROUND 2, GAME 5

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Scotiabank Arena

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

Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Preview:

It wasn’t necessarily an easy path to get here, but the Tampa Bay Lightning are once again back in the same position they had in Round 1 — up 3-1 in the series with a chance to dispatch the Boston Bruins for good. After a shaky start to Game 1, the Bolts built off an overtime Game 2 win and rode the momentum to dominant wins in Games 3 and 4. Now, the question remains: can they close out this series tonight?

The Lightning have looked like the stronger team for most of this series. Their forecheck has been dominant, they finally got their powerplay going, and they’ve been able to capitalize on lucky chances. The one area they’ve sort of struggled in is the penalty kill — Boston has scored on the powerplay at least once in every game. It makes staying out of the box even more critical.

The Bruins were fairly undisciplined in Game 4 and while they might clean some things up for Game 5, the Lightning should still expect the heavy, hard-hitting style they play dialed up a notch. Tampa Bay was lucky that Yanni Gourde didn’t sustain a significant injury on the late hit he took from Nick Ritchie. Although there doesn’t appear to be any additional discipline coming Ritchie’s way, it was a testament to the Lightning’s composure not to let their own tempers run out of control.

Andrei Vasilevskiy has been superb in this series, while Jaroslav Halak (and Dan Vladar) have faltered as the series has progressed. It would be within the Lightning’s best interests to close this series out as quickly as possible, which means a win tonight. If they can stick to their own game and not let the Bruins walk all over them (which did happen early on in Game 4), hopefully they’ll be on the right end of the score tonight.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

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

Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian

Braydon Coburn - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk

Luke Schenn

Injured: Jan Rutta, Ryan McDonagh

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Boston Bruins

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak

Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci - Ondrej Kase

Nick Ritchie - Charlie Coyle - Karson Kuhlman

Joakim Nordstrom - Par Lindholm - Anders Bjork

Jack Studnicka, Sean Kuraly, Chris Wagner

Defense Pairs

Zdeno Chara - Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk - Connor Clifton

Jeremy Lauzon, John Moore

Goaltenders

Jaroslav Halak

Dan Vladar