Lightning dominate the Bruins in winning the series
The Tampa Bay lightning is quickly establishing itself as the team to beat in these playoffs.
You saw that yesterday as the Lightning closed out the Bruins 3-1 and sent the Bruins home for the series winning the series 4-1.
This Lightning team is now playing at the level we thought that they would play at during the season. We would see a glimpse of this team now and then, but nothing like the team we have seen so far in the playoffs, To totally dominate a good team like the Bruins shows how good this team is.
The Lightning won the faceoff battle and was able to get the key faceoffs when they needed them most In this series. This was an area the Lightning struggled in during the season, but seemed to begin to turn the tide right after they acquired JT Miller.
There are four area‘s that I think were key to the Lightning taking out the Bruins in 5 games.
1. The Lightning matched the physical play of Boston and were on most nights the more physical team. There were games during the season when the Lightning were out hit and out muscled and did not respond very well to the physical play. That has not been the case in the playoffs, The Lightning has been the more physical team every game.
2. The speed of the Lightning is very difficult for the opposition to match. When the Lightning are flying up and down the ice there are going to be some mismatches created. That speed worked to the advantage of the Lightning against the Bruins.
3.Defense wins games in the playoffs, and the Lightning are playing with a defense first mindset. There is no team that has a better six than the Lightning lines of Hedman-Girardi, McDonaugh-Stralman, and Coburn-Sergachev. These lines are playing their best hockey of the season. To show just how dominating the defense was in this series, the Bruins did not score an even strength goal the last three games in the series.
4. The play of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasi was outstanding the whole series, but seemed to get stronger and played better as the series went along. Vasilevskiy capped it of with one of his best playoff games in the win yesterday. In the playoffs so far, Vasi has a .927 save percentage with a 2.20 GAA to go with his 8-2 record.
As Cooper said yesterday in his press conference the lightning have four lines that are contributing, and that is hard for opponents to match up with. The line of Point, Palat, and Johnson was the best line in the series for the Lightning with Braydon Point being the best player In this round.
Ryan Callahan and Tony Cirelli have been two of the unsung heroes in this playoff series. Those two have killed penalties, blocked shots, played physical and done so many other little things to help the Lightning win games that do not show up on the score sheet.
So the Lightning will get a few extra days off before the Eastern Conference Finals begin this weekend. You could see how the extended rest between the playoff series benefited the Lightning during yesterday’s game. The Lightning will have home ice advantage against The Washington Capitals who will be making their first appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in 19 years.