Preview: Eastern Conference Finals

(5) Tampa Bay Lightning vs  (3) Boston Bruins

Starts Saturday, May 14th, at 8pm from the TD Garden in Boston.

Both teams are coming off Round 2 sweeps. This will be the first time the Lightning and Bruins have met in the playoffs.

What decides this series? Special teams, the best power play wins. Even-strength goals will be premium.

Lightning to watch: Sean Bergenheim has been a surprise offensive threat in the playoffs, he leads all players still in the playoffs with 7 goals. Expect this to continue, even-strength goals will be important and all 7 of Bergenheim’s goals were 5 on 5.

Bruin to watch: Milan Lucic did not produce until late last round against the Flyers. If he didn’t mind the 8 days off between the rounds, expect him to have an explosive impact on the series.

Season Series: Boston (3-1): Even though Boston won the regular season series, don’t expect anything similar to those games. Both teams have changed greatly since the regular season.

Tips for Tampa: Draw penalties, start mind games, Steve Downie will be hard at work with this.

Tips for Boston: Limit shots and penalties, don’t let the Lightning power play unit on the ice.

Will Bergeron be back for Boston? No, concussions have their way of keeping a player sidelined. If he does enter the lineup for game 3 or 4, don’t expect much from him.

Which team has secondary scoring?

Tampa (Moore, Purcell, Bergenheim) 10 goals 17 assists

Boston (Kelly, Peverley, Paille) 7 goals 9 assists

Advantage? Tampa

Starting Goaltenders:

Tampa: Dwyane Roloson (8-3) 2.01 GAA .941 sv%

Boston: Tim Thomas (8-3) 2.03 GAA .937 sv%

Roloson and Thomas have almost identical stats, they will both play well, the goals that go in will be perfect shots or dirty ones in close. Providing screens and deflections will be essential for success. Both goaltenders can win this series for their respective teams with a strong performance.

Prediction: Expect close but high scoring games. They are very similar teams, but the Lightning have a much better power play unit. Tampa Bay Lightning 4 games to 2

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Tags: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Boston Bruins Dwyane Roloson Playoffs Tampa Bay Lightning Tim Thomas

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