Bruins-Lightning Playoff Preview

I'd like to call this series the Shoe Drop Series, because something's gotta give (sorry for those who just reflexively thought of Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton sexually).  Tim Thomas?  Dwayne Roloson?  As we know, people always call veterans "crafty" when they do something good, but the way these 35+ goalies have been roaming between the pipes it is safe to say that we are truly seeing two craftsmen at work.  Roloson and Thomas have both had remarkable stories in the NHL, the former for his solid performances on mediocre teams, the latter for the fury of talent in what, for many, would be the twilight of their careers.  They both fight time and their last years in the game, and one of them will get a shot to win it all.  Is it wrong to say I don't want either one of them to lose?

I doubted the Tampa Bay Lightning in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, if you'll recall, because I felt they were the volatile team against one that had effectively reduced chances against their goalie.  Tampa squeaked out the win in the 7th game, behind some of the best goaltending in the playoffs from Roloson.  They went on to face the #1 seed, the Washington Capitals, and won via offense rather than Roloson, but in a convincing 4 games to 0 fashion.  You have to like this team going into their matchup with Boston because of the way they stormed through to the Conference Finals, right?  You have to like this team because of their extraordinary shot differential during the regular season, right?

Well, yes and no.  

...because I think I'm through doubting Tim Thomas, for one.  As I had mentioned in the preview to their series against the Flyers, Thomas has been so good that he could regress (say, 2 points, to a 93.2 ESSV%) and the Bruins could still generate the offense to win games.  As it were, his ESSV% has been north of 94.5 across the entire season, including playoffs, and he and the Bruins defense shut down so many Flyers opportunities you almost thought the Flyers were shooting to hit Thomas or Bruins' shinpads instead of the net.  To make his performance even more convincing, he's given us a reasonable PKSV% (84.3 on 51 shots-against).

For two, the Lightning's mortality has shown through twice now: once by not playing too convincingly per score-tied Fenwick in the 1st round, the second by showing a bit of shakiness at even-strength.  Of the 10 goals scored by the Capitals, 8 were scored at even-strength, and perhaps only one of those in anything that might be called "garbage time."  Roloson's 92.2 ESSV%, a good-not-great number in today's NHL, doesn't tell the whole story; no less than 5 of those 8 goals were messy, weak goals given up by Roloson or a defense that had momentarily disappeared.  One of the remaining 3 was the "garbage time" goal.  To a degree, that's expected against a solid team like the Capitals, but it's fair to note that the Capitals were not playing in front of Tim Thomas.  Can the Lightning clean up the mistakes and get the puck past Thomas?  Pittsburgh couldn't; Philly couldn't.  I don't think Tampa can, either.  Boston in 6 games.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Arctic Ice Hockey

You must be a member of Arctic Ice Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Arctic Ice Hockey. You should read them.

Join Arctic Ice Hockey

You must be a member of Arctic Ice Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Arctic Ice Hockey. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker