The marquee Atlantic Division matchup between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning brought us a tremendous opening game of their Eastern Conference second-round playoff series. The Bruins took the first blood, but Tampa has dominated Boston lately, so we expect to see a great series.
Game 2 is on Tuesday’s schedule, and we have prepared the most important betting tips and trends along with our best betting pick for the Bruins versus Lightning showdown.
The Bruins miss Tuukka Rask, as the 33-year-old goalie left the bubble due to personal reasons. Rask is 1-3 with a 2.57 GAA in four starts this postseason. The Lightning, on the other side, are without center Steven Stamkos (lower body), while defenseman Ryan McDonagh is listed as doubtful.
The Bruins won the opener 3-2 at -110 moneyline odds with a total of 5.5 goals.
What’s at Stake?
It’s still early for huge stakes, but the Bruins have a chance to build up a solid lead, while the Lightning will be in trouble if they suffer another loss.
The Bruins have struggled mightily in the round-robin tournament, losing all their three contests including a 3-2 defeat to Tampa Bay. However, the Bruins have gelled the things to easily beat Carolina is five games in the first round.
On the other side, the Lightning went 2-1 in the round-robin tournament to earn the No. 2 seed in the east. They beat Columbus in five games in the previous round.
I’ve mentioned that Tampa has dominated Boston lately, and the Lightning are 11-3 in their last 14 encounters with the Bruins. Also, the Lightning have won five of their previous six playoff contests against the Bruins.
Boston was arguably a better team in Game 1. The Bruins had a 3-0 lead early in the 3rd period, allowing Victor Hedman to score twice and make the last 1:14 of the game very interesting to watch.
Charlie Coyle, David Pastrnak, and Brad Marchand netted for the Bruins each, while Jaroslav Halak posted 35 saves. Halak will patrol the crease in Game 2, and he’s 4-1 with a 2.23 GAA and a .921 save percentage this postseason.
On the other side, Andrei Vasilevskiy has guarded the cage in all nine Bruins’ playoff outings in 2020. He’s 6-3 with a 2.08 GAA and a .925 save percentage. Vasilevskiy allowed three goals on 31 shots in the opener, but he’ll certainly get another start Tuesday night.
Both Boston and Tampa Bay are scoring 2.44 goals per game this postseason. Back in the regular season, the Bruins were tallying 3.24 goals per contest (9th in the NHL), while the Lightning were the most efficient team in the league with 3.47 goals per game.
The Lightning found the rhythm late in Game 1, so they should be fired up to storm the front in Game 2. This should be a very tight matchup, so making any predictions is a quite tricky job. Both teams are loaded offensively, but they also play solid defense.
Jaroslav Halak has been excellent in the bubble so far, and he should regress at some point. The Lightning should know how to beat the Bruins, considering betting trends, so I’m backing Tampa Bay to tie the series.
Betting on the under seems like an interesting move, but as I’ve said, both teams have some top-notch forwards that can score anytime, so I’m sticking with the side bet.