Following their respective second round sweeps of the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers, both teams have had an extended layoff. While Boston has been waiting since May 6th, Tampa has been off since May 4th. When the Conference Finals begin, with these extended layoffs both teams figure to be fresh and well rested.
Winning four of the six games the two teams played against each other, Boston won the season series against Tampa Bay. On December 2nd, 2010, actually, Boston won the last three match ups including an 8-1 romp in Boston. This playoff match up figures to be a competitive battle as both Tampa and Boston are getting great play from their top players, while Boston may have won the season series.
In online free picks, the over/under total is 5.5 and the Bruins are a -145 moneyline favorite.
Both Boston and Tampa Bay have gotten excellent play from their net minders as experts always say the goalie is the most important player come playoff time.
As both Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson lead the league in playoff save percentage, making it even more difficult to predict the winner of this series, they have played exceptionally well in goal for Boston and Tampa. On this series it appears that the special team’s play of both clubs will have a major impact.
While Tampa Bay has the second best penalty kill unit, currently, Boston is ranked tenth on the penalty kill in the playoffs. While Boston has struggled through the first two rounds only scoring two power play goals in thirty seven chances, good for the fourteenth best ranking in the playoffs, the power play unit seems to favor Tampa Bay as well, as the Lightning rank third in that category.
Tampa Bay could be heading to the Stanley Cup Finals representing the Eastern Conference, if these trends continue.