The Boston Bruins will be looking for success in three key areas if they want to underpin their Game 1 success against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In Game 1, the Boston Bruins showed an ability to bunker down and get the job done with a 3-2 win that surely has Tampa Bay reeling ever so slightly.
Moving forward, the Bruins will want to maintain their momentum and there are certain elements key to ensuring that. Far from just limiting shots on goal or making the most of scoring chances, Boston must also hone in on these three areas of their game:
Don’t get suckered into silly physicality
The Boston Bruins proved that they can get physical when the need arises. That has never really been a doubt or question mark. What they mustn’t do is allow themselves to get suckered into being physical just for the sake of it.
That one occasion where you take the run up looking for a hit is going to be the one where Nikita Kucherov or Brayden Point capitalises on the break because our man is out of position.
By all means, the Bruins need to match the physicality and intensity of Tampa, but they need to be smart about it, limit the penalties they give up and ideally, given our powerplay prowess, draw some penalties in the bargain.
Continue the strong special teams play
The Boston Bruins will succeed in this postseason if they continue to shine when special teams are out on the ice.
In Game 1, both teams had three power-play opportunities, but it was only Boston that was able to utilise that man-advantage, with David Krejci and David Pastrnak combining for a great goal.
Given the aforementioned physicality, there is almost no doubt that more man-advantages will occur for both teams and that’s where the strength of the Bruins’ penalty-kill will be put to the test.
With Connor Clifton called up in recent games, the Bruins have the luxury of five defensemen you’d happily roll out in any penalty-killing situation. Even Torey Krug is more than able to fill in there, though you’d prefer to keep him fresh for powerplay time.
Protect our net
It’s not an ideal scenario to have Jaroslav Halak as our primary goaltender, but that’s life. There’s still no reason not to believe he can guide us to the Stanley Cup, after all.
However, given the next option is the recently renewed Dan Vladar, the Boston Bruins must be incredibly careful to protect Halak from any needless physical contact, as well as limit the chances of him conceding.
The last thing we need is either an injury or a shelling that could dent his confidence and thus our chances moving forward.
If the Boston Bruins can succeed in all of these three key areas, there’s no reason to believe we won’t roll on past the Tampa Bay Lightning to our second Eastern Conference Final in two years.
The challenge is to do so, it’s not like Tampa are going to take it easy on us!