NHL Playoff Game Day: 8-29-20 Lightning v Bruins

Opportunistic Lightning keep their foot on Boston's throat.

TB-3
BOS-1

Tampa Bay Leads the Series 3-1

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 1 goal on 30 shots in the game. He was the difference in the contest, in my opinion. He held off Boston's surge in the Second Period long enough for Palat to get the second goal and the power play goal on the Ritchie major penalty and that was all she wrote. The biggest gap in this series has been between Halak's quality and Vasilevskiy's.

First Period
8:59 TB Palat (3), (Point)

Second Period
12:29 TB Palat (4), (Cirelli, Kucherov)
18:04 TB Hedman (4), (Johnson, Kucherov)(PP)

Third Period
7:04 BOS DeBrusk (4), (Coyle, Grzelcyk)(PP)

Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Vasilevskiy were the game's three stars.

This was, although not a Picasso, a good game for the Lightning under the circumstances playing a desperate team. A very professional win. I was surprised how flat Boston came out with the Lightning holding the 2-1 series lead and Tampa Bay probably deserved more than a 1-0 lead with the way they played out of the gates. The middle frame, though, was one where the Lightning had to play opportunistic hockey to get the win. Boston had a power play to start the frame that gave them the momentum and they really dominated the first half of the frame forcing Vasilevskiy to make a handful of really strong situational saves. He asserted himself as the difference maker today buying the Lightning time until Halak gave away a bit of a soft goal from distance to Palat and then really put a tired and frustrated Boston team behind the eight ball. Nick Ritchie made Boston's situation more dire with a boarding major on Yanni Gourde, who thankfully wasn't hurt badly enough that he couldn't return for the final period, and Victor Hedman got some puck luck on a point shot to put the game away. Boston finally cracked Vasilevskiy after being awarded a third straight power play in the Third Period, but I have to say the Lightning played very well with the exception of maybe one shift the rest of the way to make the 3-1 lead stick.

If you're the Lightning, you've gone this far. You've got to put Boston away in five now that you've got the opportunity. You've outscored them 10-1 in the last two games, you have them down 3-1, their best goaltender left the team before the series and the guy they have in has been subpar, and they're a thinner and older team who has looked out of gas at several junctures in this series. If the Lightning pop in a goal or two early in Game Five, Boston might just pack it in. They have had the look a time or two in this series of a team teetering on it. The Lightning have forechecked them and forechecked them and the goaltending situation has been such that Boston has to work way harder than Tampa Bay does for their goals right now. If you're Tampa, you put the hammer down in that First Period in Game Five and ask the question of the Bruins. "Do you want to stay here and try to expend energy you probably don't have to try to come back and win three straight games or do you want to leave the bubble and go home to your families and play some golf?" The Lightning have them out in deep water now. Drop them in and drown them and go get ready for the Eastern Conference Final.

They have no answer for Brayden Point with the puck on his stick, by the way. None. They can't pry it from him and they can't keep up with him. Every shift's been a clinic.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.