With the Bruins playing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the staff of writers and editors here at Diehards wanted to make their predictions for the series.
Chris Gere: Lightning in 7
Analysis: The Bruins proved that the Round-Robin rust was mostly a mirage, but 5-on-5 scoring has still been an issue at times. And, while the Hurricanes are a good team, the Lightning boast the same level of depth up the middle in addition to a level of top-end talent that matches up much better with the Bruins. When two teams this good match up, its’s basically a coin-flip, so I’m giving a slight edge to Tamp bay.
Cup Prediction: Sticking with Vegas. They’ve looked like the best team in the postseason so far.
Matt McGuirk: Lightning in 5
Analysis: Yes, I know my Hurricanes prediction was very wrong but I’m saticking with my gut again. Tampa is a really good team with no real weakness. Andrei Vasilevskiy is a top goaltender, and I don’t think the Bruins have what it takes to hold off a Lightning team that has legitimate cup aspirations. Unless Jaroslav Halak stands on his head and Boston’s best players perform, I think this will be a quick series.
Cup Prediction: I’m still rolling with the Colorado Avalanche.
Nick Godin: Lightning in 7
Analysis: The Boston Bruins had an impressive run against a defensively-minded Carolina Hurricanes, but that’s part of the reason they will struggle in the second round against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning’s offensive depth will prove to be too much to handle for this Bruins team – especially with a lot of pressure weighing on the shoulders of their backup goaltender, Jaroslav Halak. This series could go either way, and considering that, I’m going to have to go with the team that on paper has a higher likelihood of winning – unfortunately, that’s Tampa Bay.
Cup Prediction: Colorado Avalanche. My former pick, the Washington Capitals, got knocked-out in the first round, which should comfort Bruins fans as hopefully my second round predictions are also as off as my first round predictions.
Ethan Nash: Lightning in 7
Analysis: In my opinion this is a match-up between the two best teams in the NHL. The Bruins and the Lightning are two clubs loaded with talent up and down the board. In their first series against Carolina, the Bruins struggled at times to generate scoring at even strength. That will need to change to be successful against the high-scoring Tampa Bay offense. In the end, I see this series going the full seven games with the Lightning coming out on top.
Cup Prediction: I’m sticking with the Lightning as my pick.
Caylee Allard: Bruins in 7
Analysis: The Bruins and Lightning are no strangers to one another. Having met in two intense playoff series before, there’s an exciting rivalry and history between both teams. Just this March before the pause of the season, the Bruins and Lightning had several fights and a line brawl during a game at TD Garden. Zdeno Chara and Pat Maroon have some unfinished business and have a bit of beef that I doubt will fade anytime soon. All eyes will be on them to see if they’ll go toe-to-toe once again. Besides the physicality, both teams are evenly matched with goal scoring ability. With Tampa’s top line consisting of Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov, they make for the perfect counter to Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak. Although captain and veteran Steven Stamkos is injured, the Lightning have been surging through the postseason and easily knocked the Columbus Blue Jackets out in 5 games. If the Bruins can stay consistent and goaltender Jaroslav Halak comes up big, my prediction is Bruins in 7.
Cup Prediction: The Colorado Avalanche. I don’t see anyone getting past their depth and Nathan MacKinnon is putting on one of the best displays of hockey I’ve ever seen.
Alex Berard: Bruins in 7
Analysis: Cue 2011 again but this time with even more physicality and penalty minutes. This series will come down to the special teams and who is smarter. Advantage Boston and their powerplay. Boston’s powerplay is 17.9% these playoffs to Tampa’s 13.3% and they will be missing captain Steven Stamkos for the beginning of the series. At the end of the day, if you can get out of this series alive you have the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.
Cup Prediction: Boston Bruins over the Colorado Avalanche.
Eli Canfield: Bruins in 6
Analysis: The Bruins cruised past the Hurricanes in five despite the surprise loss of Tuukka Rask before Game 3 of the series. Playoff Krejci has arrived, and Jaro Halak has been very solid since taking over for Rask. Tampa Bay is a much tougher and more experienced team than Carolina, but as long as Halak can keep up what he’s done, the Bruins should be able to skate past the Bolts.
Cup Prediction: Philadelphia Flyers.
Joe Russo: Lightning in 7
Analysis: Although the Bruins will have the benefit of no Steven Stamkos at the beginning of this series and an advantage in the faceoff dot, Tampa will likely utilize their big and heavy defensive core and take-out the Bruins bottom-9 forwards. Both teams match-up well 5-on-5, so whoever wins the special teams battle will win this series.
Cup Prediction: Colorado Avalanche.
Neal Lyons: Bruins in 5
Analysis: This should be one of the best series’ of the COVID-19 Cup but I’m a little tired of all the gushing over the current Tampa Bay lineup. I don’t think they’re as good as they were in 2018. They’re no more physical though they may have upgraded the skill of their physical players. Obviously Halak is the wild card but, if Boston stays healthy, and he can make the key stops when they need them, I think the Bruins roll.
Cup Prediction: It remains the same – Philadelphia Flyers.
Amanda Ucci: Lightning in 6
Analysis: While other lines have started producing for the Bruins I’m not sure Halak will be able to stave off the likes of Point and Kucherov. They’re also looking for redemption after last years mess of a postseason.
Cup Prediction: Still the Philadelphia Flyers.