Tampa Bay at Boston
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON – The Tampa Bay Lightning made a strong response physically to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series and will try to match that effort when they visit the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night for Game 3. The Lightning totaled 42 hits and center Brayden Point rebounded from a rough series opener (minus-5 rating) to register a goal and three assists in the 4-2 victory Monday in Game 2.
“I think that’s what’s good about this group, a lot of guys have been through these stretches before and realize there’s ups and downs in playoff series – make sure we don’t get too high and too low,” Tampa Bay right wing Ryan Callahan said. “. … You try to stay even keeled, especially after (Monday). It’s an emotional win, but they’ve got home ice now so they did their job. We’ve got to go in there and try to steal one.” The Lightning have a 67-44 edge in shots over the first two games and the Bruins hope to turn those numbers around at home, where they went 28-8-5 this season – including a pair of wins against Tampa Bay. Boston’s top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak had four assists Monday after posting three goals and 11 points in Game 1, but should get better matchups on home ice Wednesday. “I know they had a good game, but I think it’s more on us,” Pastrnak told reporters. “We’ve got to be better Wednesday.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network, CBC, TVA
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING: Coach Jon Cooper said he never considered taking Point, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson off the assignment of checking Boston’s top line after Game 1 and the trio responded by each scoring a goal Monday. “We’ve watched (Point), watched that line, check the best lines in the league all year,” Cooper said. “There was no reason to. … panic and say they can’t do it. We know they can do it. We have faith in them.” Tampa Bay has yet to get a point from its top line of J.T. Miller, captain Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov in the series, but the trio registered 12 shots on net combined and Miller had six hits Monday.
ABOUT THE BRUINS: Rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who regularly pairs with captain Zdeno Chara, scored his first career playoff goal Monday and has four points to go along with a plus-5 rating in the first nine games of the postseason. Pastrnak, who leads the team in scoring during the playoffs (18 points), was limited to one shot on goal in Game 2 and is a minus-6 in Boston’s four losses in the postseason while posting a plus-10 in the wins. Defenseman Torey Krug became the fourth Bruin to reach 10 points in the playoffs Monday and has tied his career high in the postseason last season (two goals, eight assists).
1. Chara can pass Rick Middleton (111) for fourth and Bergeron could move past Johnny Bucyk (109) for sixth in franchise history for postseason games played.
2. Johnson is tied with Vincent Lecavalier for third in Tampa Bay franchise history with 24 playoff games after his tally in Monday’s win.
3. The Bruins were 11th and the Lightning 27th in the league in faceoff percentage during the regular season, but Tampa Bay has a 59-50 edge in the series.