Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins
Tampa Bay travels to Boston with a trip to the Stanley Cup on the line. The Bruins are -150 favorites over the Lightning with an over/under goal total set at 5.5.
Game six turned out to be another shootout and Tampa Bay had the most bullets in their gun as they walked away with a 5-4 decision to knot the Eastern Conference finals at three games apiece. Game seven will be played in Boston tonight in what has been an exciting yet unpredictable series. What has been perhaps more surprising than unpredictable has been some of the end to end action with loads of scoring coming from two teams that were the best defensive squads in the playoffs up to this point. This game featured another quick score with Tampa Bay lighting the lamp just 36 ticks in. The Lightning were led by Martin St Louis who found the back of the net twice including the eventual game winner in the third period about ten minutes in.
Teddy Purcell also lit the lamp twice while Steven Stamkos also scored and added a pair of assists. One surprise was Guy Boucher’s decision to start Dwayne Roloson who posted the victory stopping 16 of 20 shots but did not play well as he seems to have run in to a wall after a solid regular season and decent play in the first two rounds. It was an interesting decision on the part of Boucher who pulled Roloson twice in this series alone and started back up Mike Smith in game five. Smith had been flawless in both relief appearances and allowed a pair of scores on 19 shots in a game five defeat but he has been solid overall. That again leaves Boucher with another tough decision; stay with the guy who got them this far and has had some stumbles or go with Smith who has been solid albeit in limited action.
The Bruins offense was a one-man show on the part of David Krejci who posted a hat trick while Milan Lucic scored Boston’s first goal. Generally that would be plenty of support for Vezina Trophy candidate Tim Thomas who has looked nothing short of shell shocked at times. This was another on of those times as Thomas gave up five goals 26 shots to absorb the defeat. This series has been interesting to say the least and the thing that I’ve noticed or at least think I’ve noticed is that Boston is playing the Lightning’s game when it’s free skating with plenty of scoring and I’m not sure if that’s the best way to go about game seven.
The goalie situation for Tampa Bay is interesting as well and could have longer-range repercussions. What does Boucher do if he plays Smith and TB advances? Does he stick with Smith against Vancouver? On the flip side what happens if Roloson gets bombed in game seven, which might be a moot point for the next round because Boston could be the team, that advances. Thomas has got to play better as well but he doesn’t have to worry about starting in the Bruins biggest game of the season. I still think a low scoring game favors Boston and a wide-open affair suits Tampa Bay. Brutal series to predict but looking at the plus money. I’m taking the under and the Tampa Bay Lightning with plus money.
Tampa Bay Lightning +130 Boston Bruins