Boston Bruins: Near Perfection To Open Second Round Series

Boston Bruins (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Boston Bruins (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins were at near perfection to open their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a dominant 3-2 win.

As much as we made of the mismatch between Andrei Vasilevskiy and Jaroslav Halak, the Lightning proved little trouble for the veteran Slovak in the Boston Bruins net.

Far more than just being a display of goaltending, it was the sort of mature performance you’d expect from a team full of veteran leadership like the Bruins are.

The special teams are still going to play a major role this summer for the Boston Bruins, but this first game with the Lightning was proof that there’s more to this roster than just a strong power-play and penalty-kill.

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On this occasion, David Pastrnak netted the game’s second goal while on the man advantage, ending a brilliant play that saw David Krejci dish a beauty of a cross-ice pass to his countryman.

The penalty killing units put in their work too, limiting all scoring despite Tampa Bay having three chances with the man-advantage. Their power-play didn’t look half bad in the regular season, so this is a definite positive for the Bruins as they start this series.

Nick Ritchie, despite being dropped for his poor performance against the Canes was back in the line-up and fulfilled exactly the role we expect he was there for. He plays a more physical, rough and tumble style than Jack Studnicka and it was on show on this occasion albeit in very limited ice-time.

His 5 hits on the night rank behind only Joakim Nordstrom and Sean Kuraly among Boston Bruins players and show a definite element of physicality coming from the bottom-six. This is going to likely prove vital if Boston are to advance from the second round.

The top line looked more like it’s regular self in this fixture too; the reunion of Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron with Pastrnak on their right proving invaluable. Marchand finished the game with two points, Pastrnak likewise while Bergeron also nabbed one.

Up and down the line-up, everyone went about their jobs in a workman-like fashion and got the job done. On defense, Charlie McAvoy once again absorbed big minutes and once again did an admirable job while Connor Clifton again had his offensive moment or two where he showed how useful he is on a third pairing.

While Victor Hedman’s two third-period goals certainly were pause for thought, the Bruins deserved their win. They just need to ensure that they maintain their momentum throughout each fixture.

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All in all, it was a job well done by the Boston Bruins, though it’s going to be a tough series if this is the intensity it is played at.