NHL Hockey

3
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Tampa Bay 2 0 1 3
Boston 0 1 1 2
2
Series tied 0-0
Three Stars
1: Tyler Johnson, TB (1G, 1A)
2: Brayden Point, TB (1G)
3: Charlie McAvoy, Bos (1G)
1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET20:00 GMT4:00 1:00 PM MST3:00 PM EST0:00 UAE (+1)16:00 ET17:00 BRT, August 5, 2020
Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario  Attendance: 0

Rask returns as Bruins face physical Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins

  1. Over the last two regular seasons, the Lightning (.724) and Bruins (.681) rank 1-2 in the NHL in regular-season points percentage; Tampa Bay won the Presidents' Trophy in 2018-19, and Boston won it this season. The 2012-13 Blackhawks are the last team to win the Presidents' Trophy and Stanley Cup in the same season.
  2. The four games between the teams this season saw three one-goal games and one decided by two goals. After the first three meetings produced a total of 60 penalty minutes, the March 7 game in Boston, a 5-3 Tampa Bay win, saw the teams combine for 94 penalty minutes.
  3. If the Bruins lose on Wednesday, they will have begun their postseason with consecutive defeats for the second time since 2009. They dropped their first two playoff games in 2011 -- and went on to win the Stanley Cup.
  4. Prior to Monday's shootout win over Washington, Andrei Vasilevskiy and the Lightning had dropped six consecutive postseason contests. Vasilevskiy allowed 12 goals in a five-game victory over the Bruins in the 2018 conference semifinal.
  5. Tuukka Rask is expected to return to the Boston net after missing Sunday's loss to Philadelphia due to illness. Rask's 50 career postseason wins rank second in Bruins history, trailing Gerry Cheevers' 89 victories. Yet Rask has never won a Stanley Cup as a starting netminder (he was the backup in the 2011 postseason).
  6. Zdeno Chara has played 183 career postseason games; he is set to break a tie with Charlie Huddy for 11th among defensemen in playoff history. He is two games behind Denis Potvin for 10th among blueliners in playoff annals.

The Boston Bruins need a spark following their lackluster opener in Eastern Conference round-robin play, and they might find it right there in the team's crease.

Goaltender Tuukka Rask missed Saturday's practice and a disappointing 4-1 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia Flyers due to COVID-19 concerns, but the Finnish netminder is back after quarantining for two days in his hotel room.

"I had a cough, so I just clicked yes on the app, and then all kinds of red lights started blinking, and I was quarantined for two days," Rask explained Monday. "They wanted to do two negative tests after that, and that's it."

The NHL announced Monday that it had conducted 7,013 COVID-19 tests in its Phase 4 Return to Play -- all coming back negative.

Backup Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 29 shots as Boston slipped to the bottom of the round-robin standings through one set of games.

Rask, one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie, is expected to be in goal Wednesday when the Bruins (0-1-0, 0 points) play their second round-robin game, facing their Atlantic Division rival Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0-0, two points).

Puck drop at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena is at 4 p.m. ET.

Tampa Bay won three of the four contests during the regular season, and all but one -- a 5-3 Lightning win in Boston less than a week before the NHL paused the season -- ended with one-goal margins of victory.

A major reason for the tight results is the defensive play from both sides and the dominant presence in net. The game should pit the fifth matchup between Rask and Tampa Bay's Andrei Vasilevskiy, also a Vezina finalist.

The Lightning earned a 3-2 shootout win Monday afternoon over the Washington Capitals. Nikita Kucherov scored in regulation and clanged home the game-deciding goal off the right post behind Washington's Braden Holtby in the shootout's third round.

Tampa Bay squandered a 2-0 lead as Washington scored a pair late in the second period, but the 65 game minutes were a slugfest of hard shots, late hits, roughing, charging and overall brutally physical play.

The Lightning won the game by one goal, and they won the physical category by one body-to-body blow -- edging Washington 45-44 in hits.

"We've brought in some players who have helped us in that regard immensely," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of the physical play. "It's a man's game when you get in the playoffs.

"The confidence of our group and the no-back-down attitude is definitely something we've noticed and was something that was there tonight against one of the best teams in this league."

As a 17-year-old, Lightning forward Pat Maroon played for coach Cooper's Texarkana Bandits of the North American Hockey League in 2004-05. Last offseason Cooper pursued his big teenage standout, and the Lightning signed the St. Louis native to a one-year deal last August.

Maroon, now 32 and a forceful 6-foot-2, 236-pound left wing, had three hits and an assist against Washington.

"We were in their face. That's the kind of team we need to be and have that mentality to push back. Don't let them run around," he said. "I thought we did a good job not getting frustrated when they threw big hits."

--Field Level Media

Updated August 4, 2020

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