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Bean: B's can take history lesson from Game 1 win vs. Tampa

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Two years ago -- well, a little more than that given that the postseason usually isn't played in August -- the Bruins started off a second-round series against the favored Lightning with a Game 1 win.

That would prove to be their last win of the season, as Tampa won four straight to complete a gentleman's sweep.

So, after starting another series against the favored Lightning with a Game 1 win, what can the Bruins take from two years ago to avoid a similar fate?

No. 1 is to not get too excited about their top line, which performed well in both Game 1s.

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In 2018, the Bruins got two goals from Patrice Bergeron and one from Brad Marchand as part of a 6-2 win to open the series. All three goals came against Brayden Point's line, which at the time was Tampa's second line, but a dangerous one at that.

The takeaway from that game was that if the Bruins were going to win that matchup handily while David Krejci got Stamkos duty, the Bruins would be in business. Plus, that score of 6-2 seemed quite convincing. It was easy to think that perhaps we'd gotten it wrong and that the Bruins would indeed handle Tampa.

In reality, it just proved to be a bad game for Point and Co. Point's minus-5 rating was jarring in Game 1, but he snapped out of it quickly. Point was a plus-7 the rest of the way, while the Bergeron line ended up being a net minus over the final four games.

 

Bergeron was far from the problem given that he continued producing on the power play (three points), but he had only two points at even strength the rest of the way. What initially looked like a great matchup proved to be a primary reason the B's lost.

On Sunday, Point's line, now with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, was a wash, scoring one and allowing one. Yet that was the best line on the ice possession-wise for either team, so we should all expect to see more offensive output from them in future games.

Furthermore, there were signs in that 2018 series-opener that the rest of the series wasn't going to be so easy. Despite the 6-2 score by which the Bruins won, Tampa controlled the play for much of the game, holding the edge in possession for each of the three periods.

Additionally, Tuukka Rask's performance helped the scoreboard reflect a greater discrepancy than there was in the play; though the Bruins won by four, the high-danger chances at 5-on-5 were neck and neck (5-4, Bruins).

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Sunday's Game 1 was obviously a tighter affair anyway. The Lightning held the edge in both possession (53.33 Corsi For percentage in all situations) and high-danger scoring chances (13-11).

Were it not for some comical empty-net missing, Game 1 of this series would not have been a one-goal game, which thus could have given the indication that the Bruins had once again handled Tampa in an opener when they hadn't. These games have been close, just as most games between these teams over the last few years have been.

So the Bruins will know better than to take Sunday's victory as a sign that the series is theirs. This is probably going to be a long one, and the B's should hope it ends differently than it did in 2018.