Bruins vs Lightning – Game 2 NHL Pick for April 30th
In Game 1 of the series, Boston came out and overwhelmed Tampa Bay by a score of 6-2. The Bruins top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Machand totaled 11 points in the series opening game and finished with a combined plus-12 rating. Both Bergeron and Marchand scored goals while Pastrnak had four assists. The 11 total points bring their playoffs total to 41 points.
It’s clear, for Tampa Bay to bounce back in Game 2 and to even the series, they will need to slow down Boston’s top line. Lightning Coach Jon Cooper put his team through an intense practice on Sunday and is preparing them to make life miserable for Boston’s top line. Cooper believes that you have to play Boston’s trio hard and not fear them, in order to have success against them.
The Lightning will also need better play from their goalie as they gave up 6 goals, with 3 coming in the 3rd period. Andrei Vasilevskiy had a miserable outing as he stopped 18 of 23 shots. Tampa had the highest scoring offense at 3.59 goals per game, but it’s their goaltender play in the playoffs that dictates whether or not they win. In the 4 playoff games that Tampa won, Andrei had a 1.76 GAA and a .946 save percentage. In the 2 playoff games that they lost, he had a 4.04 GAA and a .871 save percentage.
In addition to Boston’s top line continuing their stellar playoff run, the Bruins will need goaltender Tuuka Rask to duplicate his Game 1 performance. Rask stopped 34 shots, allowed only 2 goals, and handled Tampa’s pressure all game long. For the postseason, Rask has a .906 save percentage, has gone 5-3, and has a 2.81 goals against average. Additionally, Boston’s penalty killing defense stopped 2 of 3 power plays for the Lightning to bump their overall kill rate up to 82.95%.
I believe that Boston has a great shot at winning this game and going up 2-0 in the series. The Bruins are 6-1 SU in the last 7 games in Tampa Bay. Additionally, they’ve outscored the Lightning 17-10 during that span. Currently, the Bruins lead the NHL in playoff points per game at 4.25. Boston has gone 23-13 ATS versus divisional opponents this year and they’re 21-14 ATS after a division game. Tampa is 14-14 ATS after a division game and 6-4 ATS in the month of April. Furthermore, with Rask in net, the Bruins went 19-9 ATS versus division opponents. With Vasilevskiy in the net, the Lightning went 15-10 ATS versus division opponents.
In the last 10 head-to-head meetings between these two teams, Boston has gone 8-2 and has outscored Tampa Bay 3.5 GPG to 2.30 GPG. The Bruins also have a higher Power Play percentage at 39.13% to 21.88% and a higher penalty killing percentage at 78.13% to 60.87%.
I like Boston’s top line and penalty killing unit to keep them in this game. If the Lightning do win, it will most likely be by 1 goal. However, I think Boston could once again outplay the Bruins and if Rask has another brilliant performance, then look for the Bruins to win Game 2 of this series.
Bet: Bruins +1.5 (-215)
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