The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning take on each other on the last day of August in Game 5 of their NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference second-round series. The second-seeded Lightning are one win away from the conference finals, but the third-seeded Bruins won’t go away so easily.
The reigning vice-champs will try their best to force another game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, so we bring you the best betting pick for Monday night’s Atlantic Division showdown between the Bruins and Lightning.
The Bruins miss goalie Tuukka Rask and winger Chris Wagner, while center Sean Kuraly is questionable to play. The Lightning are without defenseman Ryan McDonagh and center Steven Stamkos.
The bookies expect to see a tight battle even though the Lightning have dominated the Bruins in their previous two encounters.
What’s at Stake?
As I’ve mentioned, the Bruins are on the brink of elimination, while the Lightning search for one more win to secure their second conference finals in three years.
The Bruins won the opening game of this series 3-2, but the Lightning had a proper response. After a 4-3 overtime victory in Game 2, the Lightning dismantled the Bruins 7-1 in Game 3. Tampa outlasted Boston 3-1 in Game 4 this past Saturday, so the momentum is on the Lightning’s side, for sure.
Tuukka Rask’s absence is a massive blow for the reigning vice-champions. Jaroslav Halak surrendered four goals on 16 shots in that 7-1 defeat while yielding three goals on 26 shots on Saturday.
The previous game was a proper defensive battle, as the teams combined for 56 shots, 83 hits, and 29 penalty minutes. The Lightning took the lead after 8:59 of play in the 1st period and had a comfortable 3-0 lead at the end of the 2nd.
Andrei Vasilevskiy had another good game for the Lightning, posting 29 saves to improve to 8-3 on the postseason. The 26-year-old goalie has a 2.06 GAA and a .924 save percentage. On the other side, Halak is 4-3 with a 2.91 GAA and a .903 save percentage.
Brad Marchand leads the way for the Bruins this Stanley Cup, tallying seven goals and five assists in 11 outings. David Krejci added three goals and seven assists, while David Pastrnak has a couple of goals and seven dishes.
Brayden Point netted six goals along with nine assists for the Lightning this postseason. Nikita Kucherov has four goals and 10 assists.
The Bruins’ season is on the line in this one, so we should see a great game. Boston certainly has enough offensive firepower to score more than a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the Bruins’ defense is an obvious problem this playoff.
Therefore, I’m going with Tampa Bay to extend its winning streak and clinch the spot in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning’s offense smells blood and I hope they will continue to torture Jaroslav Halak.
Tampa Bay has won 14 of its previous 17 matchups with Boston.