Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Matchup Preview

Jose VasquezArticles, Hockey, NHL

The Boston Bruins at Amalie Arena in Game 1 of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. NBC will air the matchup, and the action gets underway at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 28.

Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Odds

Tampa Bay enters the matchup as the obvious favorite with a moneyline of -145. The line for Boston sits at +125 and the oddsmakers have set the Over/Under (O/U) at an even 6 goals (-110 for the over, -110 for the under). Tampa Bay is 58-29 straight up (SU) and has netted 10.6 units for moneyline bettors this season. That winning percentage, ranked first in the league in this young season, is an improvement over the 42-40 record from the 2016-17 season campaign. Through 87 regular season matches, 52 of the teams games have gone over the total, while 33 have gone under and just two have pushed. This season, the team is 32-12 SU at home. After accounting for the third-best power-play unit in the regular season (scoring on 24.1 percent of all chances), the Lightning have been able to score on 26.3 percent of their power plays in the postseason. Their penalty kill has gone from 76.6 percent in the regular season to 84.2 percent in the playoffs. The Lightning offense attempted 32.7 shots per game in the regular season, resulting in 3.6 goals per contest (ranked first overall in the NHL). In the postseason, the club is managing an average of 33.6 shots on goal 3.6 goals per game. Averaging 29.5 saves per game with a .921 save percentage, Andrei Vasilevskiy (48-22-3) has been the primary option in goal for the Bolts this season. If Tampa Bay chooses to give him a breather, however, head coach Jon Cooper may turn to Louis Domingue (7-12-12 record, .894 save percentage, 3.41 goals against average). The Bolts will continue relying on offensive production from Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Kucherov (110 points) has tallied 44 goals and 66 assists and has recorded two or more points on 34 separate occasions this year. Stamkos has 28 goals and 64 assists to his credit and has recorded at least one point in 56 contests. Boston is 54-35 straight up (SU) and has earned moneyline bettors 3.8 units this year. Through 89 regular season matches, 44 of its games have gone under the total, while 40 have gone over and just five have pushed. The Bruins are 23-21 SU as the road team this season. The Bruins have scored on 24.3 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a figure that places it in the top-five among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked third overall and it’s successfully killed off 83.1 percent of all opponent power plays. Boston’s skaters have been whistled for penalties 3.7 times per game in total this season, and 2.6 per game over their last five games. The teams been forced to stave off opponent power plays just 6.0 minutes per game over their last 10 outings. Tuukka Rask (25.5 saves per game) has been the main choice in the net for Boston. Rask owns a 38-23-5 record, while registering a .915 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average this year. Brad Marchand (37 goals, 57 assists) has been one of the top offensive playmakers for the visiting Bruins.

Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Predictions

Pick: SU Winner – Lightning, O/U – Under

Betting Notes

  • Over Tampa Bay’s last ten outings, nine of them have been decided by two or more goals (the team is 7-2 in those games).
  • Penalties and power plays could prove to be even more critical than usual in this game. The Bruins are 16-20 in games where they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 31-24 when they’re in the box for fewer than 10 penalty minutes, total. The Lightning are 27-15 when the team serves fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 32-18 in games where their penalty minutes are in the single digits.
  • Tampa Bay is 6-2 in games decided by a shootout this season while Boston is 3-3 in shootouts.
  • The over has hit in three of Tampa Bay’s last five outings.
  • Tampa Bay skaters have averaged 7.0 giveaways over its last five home games, an improvement from its season average of 8.3 giveaways per game (the 9th-fewest in the NHL).
  • Boston has averaged 9.4 giveaways over its last five home games, right in line with its season average of 9.3 giveaways per game (ranked 14th overall).
  • Boston skaters have accounted for the eighth-most hits in the league (24.0 per game).