GAME OF THE WEEK (Rogers' 10* NHL!) >> 27-17-1 Last 11 Days!
Tampa Bay vs. Boston,
05/02/2018 19:00 EDT,
Score: 4 - 1
Money Line: -133 Boston
The set-up: The Tampa Bay Lightning lost 6-2 at home in Game 1 of their series with the Boston Bruins but made a strong response physically in Game 2's 4-2 win to even the Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Lightning totaled 42 hits and center Brayden Point rebounded from a rough series opener (minus-5 rating) to register a goal and three assists in Monday's victory. The Lightning have a 67-44 edge in shots over the first two games but the Bruins hope to turn those numbers around at home, where they went 31-9-5 this season, including a pair of wins against Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay: Head coach Jon Cooper said he never considered taking Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson off the assignment of checking Boston’s top line after Game 1 and the trio responded by each scoring a goal Monday. However, Tampa Bay has yet to get a point from its top line of J.T. Miller, captain Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov in the series, even though the trio registered 12 shots on net combined and Miller had six hits Monday. Johnson is tied with Vincent Lecavalier for third in Tampa Bay franchise history with 24 playoff games after his goal in Monday’s win.
Boston: The Bruins top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak had four assists Monday (but no goals) after posting three goals and 11 points in Game 1. However, that line should get better matchups on home ice Wednesday. Rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who regularly pairs with captain Zdeno Chara, scored his first career playoff goal Monday and has four points to go along with a plus-5 rating in the first nine games of the postseason. Pastrnak leads the team in scoring during the playoffs (18 points) but was limited to one shot on goal in Game 2 and is a minus-6 in Boston’s four losses in the postseason while posting a plus-10 in the wins. Defenseman Torey Krug became the fourth Bruin to reach 10 points in the playoffs Monday and has tied his career high in the postseason last season (two goals, eight assists).
The pick: The Lightning were a more-than-respectable 25-13-3 on the road during the regular season and have split two games away from home in the playoffs. However, Boston is 31-9-5 at TD Garden, including 3-1 this postseason. Boston outscored opponents 3.76-to-2.58 GPG during the regular season at home and then in taking three of four home playoff games, outscored the Maple Leafs 22-12. The Bruins won both home games against Tampa Bay in the season series and have won three straight and four of the last five -- and are 17-4-0 over the Lightning at TD Garden over the last seven years. If you want to stretch it out, the franchise has just nine wins in 54 games in Boston, including playoffs. Make the Bruins a 10* play.