Lightning back in playoff form with win against the Bruins

It was what Lightning fans had been waiting to see for a few weeks now, smothering defense, Vasilevskiy back in Vezina form, and contibutions offensively from all lines.

This was the best game the Lightning have played in I can’t remember when. The lightning have had good periods, maybe a good 10 minute stretch here and there when they dominated, for a short period of time, but this was as a complete game the Lightning have played all season.

And the fact that it came against the Bruins, a team that had the Lightning’s number all year was even better.

Last night’s game will set the tone for a potential second round playoff matchup with the Bruins, which if it comes about would be one of the best series of the playoffs.

This game also sends a message that the Lightning will be a team to be reckoned with in the playoffs. The game last night proved that the Lightning can defensively smother a team and shut them down. Vasilevskiy had one of his best games of the season with his 8th shutout of the season and his 43rd win in the 4-0 whitewash of the Bruins.

Boston, along with Nashville have been the hottest teams in the NHL the second half of the season. While the Lightning stumbled a bit after the break, the Bruins got on a roll and have climbed to the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference.

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos missed the game with what is what is being called a lower body injury. Jon Copper said he may play this weekend depending on how he feels, but I wouldn’t count on it.

There are a few variables at play this weekend as the No. 1 seed in the East is on the line. Right now the Bruins and the Lightning are tied with 110 points. Boston has 3 games remaining, two against the Panthers. The Lightning have two games left. They will play the Sabres on Friday night in the home finale, and the Hurricanes on Saturday.

Should Stamkos play or not? I would rather he rest this weekend then play and risk some kind of silly injury and miss some tIme in the playoffs. The Lightning are probably going to get second place in the division and a first round matchup against Toronto at this point.

Louis Domingue should get the start on Friday night. I would rest Vasilevskiy and then have everyone who is healthy play on Saturday against the Hurricanes in a tuneup for the playoffs.

-The Lightning will probably host game one of their series on Thursday night as Amalie Arena will be hosting a concert on Wednesday Night.

-Adam Erne is still hobbling and will be a bit longer before he gets back to playing. Cooper ‘s comments yesterday were that Erne was more than just day to day. Barring an injury these last two games, the Lightning should enter the playoffs relatively healthy.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports