The Boston Bruins 6-2 win in game one over the Lightning seems like a distant memory now. The Bruins have now dropped three straight, including an overtime heartbreaker in game four and are teetering on the brink of elimination. Now, they must win three straight—including TWO in Tampa.
No matter how you slice it, it is a large obstacle to overcome for the Bruins to climb out of this 3-1 series hole. Entering this year’s postseason, 292 series reached the 3-1 mark. Only 28 times has the team trailing in the series come back and won. Not one of those instances were the Bruins the comeback team. However, twice, they have been on the ‘collapse’ side. Again, the odds are clearly stacked against the Bruins.
There is plenty of blame to go around as to why the Bruins are in this predicament. Costly turnovers have been a thorn in this team’s side since the first round. Inconsistent goaltending from Tuukka Rask has been an issue. Sometimes it has been game-to-game, other times period-to-period. Rask has been great and bad and sometimes somewhere in between. However, the Bruins biggest issue this series has been secondary scoring.
All year, the Bruins success has been predicated on one superstar line and three others that contribute each and every night. Against Tampa in the second round, the scoring depth has been nonexistent for the Bruins. On the flip side, the Lightning’s top line of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and J.T. Miller was held pointless until the end of game three when Stamkos sealed the game with an empty-netter. The point is, the Lightning have gotten production from the role players and now they sit one game from the Eastern Conference Finals.
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Thus far throughout the series, Bruins players have combined to score 33 points. The trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak have 24 of those points. Six of those remaining nine points came in the first game—the Bruins only win. On the other side, guys like Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point have helped carry the Lightning during the top lines struggles.
To the Bruins credit, they have tried to mix things up. Ryan Donato made his second appearance of the playoffs in game four. In addition, they inserted veteran, Brian Gionta into the lineup for the first time all postseason. However, that is not going to be enough. Especially if the Lightning’s top unit begins to contribute in the manner in which they are accustomed.
— Full Press NHL (@FPC_NHL) May 5, 2018
The series isn’t over by any means. The Bruins have dominated long stretches of this series but do not have the results to back it up. Perhaps the added pressure of potentially three straight do-or-die games will be enough. The Bruins have shown their resilience all season in a variety of ways. Here is a chance for them to do it again.