Bruins

Game 4 a must-win for Bruins after abysmal 7-1 loss to Lightning

Bruins
Zdeno Chara and the Bruins lose to the Lightning 7-1 in Game 4.
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Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning is one Boston Bruins will be trying to quickly forget.

It was one of the Bruins' worst playoff losses in a long time, and Boston now trails this second round Stanley Cup Playoff series 2-1 as a result.

The Lightning dominated right from the start and rode a rejuvenated power play to a 7-1 victory. There were almost no bright spots for the Bruins, who must rebound fast or this series could get away from them.

Here are three takeaways from Game 3.

1. The Lightning power play is back The Lightning were 0-for-15 on the power play in their seven playoff games prior to Wednesday, and they busted out of that slump in a major way.

Tampa Bay went 3-for-6 on the power play in Game 3 -- absolutely dominating a Boston penalty kill that ranks among the league's best. The Lightning's third power play goal ended Jaroslav Halak's night. The B's goalie made 12 saves on 16 shots before departing.

The Lightning power play finding its groove again is a bad scenario for the Bruins. Tampa Bay scored the fourth-most goals with the man advantage during the regular season, and both of the team's power play units are loaded with high-end offensive skill.

The Bruins must stay out of the box as much as possible against the Lightning, especially if Tampa Bay continues to dominate play at 5-on-5. 

2. Game 4 is a must-win for B's Teams that win Game 3 when a series is tied 1-1 advance to the next round 67 percent of the time. When a team goes up 3-1 in a series, it reaches the next round 91 percent of the time. So, it's pretty easy to understand why Game 4 is as close to a must-win as you can get for the Bruins.

 

Trying to erase a 3-1 deficit against a Lightning team that many smart hockey minds consider the best in the league would be an incredibly tough task for the B's. The Lightning have won six of the eight meetings between these teams in 2019-20, including the regular season and round robin. Tampa Bay is a confident team against Boston, and it has the combination of high-end skill, toughness and quality goaltending to give the Bruins all they can handle.

The Bruins also have never overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series.

3. Where is Boston's secondary scoring? The Bruins have scored seven goals in three games against the Lightning, and five of them were tallied by the top line (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak) or on the power play. Marchand has accounted for four of the seven goals himself, including at least one in each game.

Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie both scored in Game 2, but aside from those tallies, Boston's secondary scoring has been absent so far. The entire second line of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci and Ondrej Kase has yet to score a goal in this series. Bruins defensemen also have failed to find the back of the net in the three games.

The Bruins cannot win this series relying on the top line and the power play to score all the goals. You can get away with that against an inferior Carolina Hurricanes team in Round 1, but it won't work against a deep, experienced Lightning squad that has a Vezina Trophy finalist in net.