NHL Playoffs: Bruins keys to victory
1 Power play, both ways
The Bruins finally found success on their power play late in the Flyers series, but their challenge in the Eastern Conference finals is to avoid being on the wrong end of the man advantage.
While the Bruins went 2-for-37 in their two series, the Lightning had a league-leading 12 goals on 45 opportunities. The Bruins were 10th among 16 playoff teams in penalty killing, while the Lightning were second — making the Bruins’ power-play scoring woes a bigger factor.
2 Replacing Bergeron
With each passing day that Patrice Bergeron does not engage in any physical activity after his mild concussion last Friday, his availability for the Lightning series becomes more remote.
Bergeron led the B’s with 12 points through their first 11 games, so it falls to Chris Kelly (seven points) to pick up some of the slack on the second line. But the real pressure will be on the first line of Milan Lucic, David Krecji and Nathan Horton to match the powerful Lightning top line of Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis, who have combined for 15 goals and 29 points.
3 The goalie’s the thing
In the end, though, the only matchup that really matters is between the pipes.
In the Philly series, the Flyers’ goaltenders were in over their heads, while Tim Thomas stood on his. But Thomas has an equally formidable foe in 41-year-old Dwayne Roloson, who has been the top goalie in the postseason with a 2.01 goals against average and .941 save percentage.
Those numbers mirror those of Thomas in the regular season (2.00, .938), setting the stage for a tense, low-scoring series.
It should be a good one.