While Boston running the goalie was hardly a surprise, the fact they resorted to it in Game Two was a little bit of a shocker. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t work, as Pyotr Kochetkov picked up where Antti Raanta left off in Game One, and the Canes pumped five into the Bruins net for the second straight game. Boston looks absolutely perplexed as to how they can beat Carolina, and that could mean we see a lot more Broons Hawkey tonight, especially if the Canes get another substantial lead.
The Bruins are going to need bigger efforts from their stars. Yes, Patrice Bergeron has two goals so far, but the Bruins have just one other goal in the series. And perennial playoff beast Brad Marchand has one assist thus far. If he can’t break through, this is gonna be over extremely early.
This series definitely feels like it could go the distance already, doesn’t it? After getting absolutely rolled in Game One, the Lightning responded well in Game Two, and now find themselves on home ice for the next two games. Interestingly enough, the last two regular season meetings between these teams were in Tampa. Toronto won the first game 6-2, Tampa taking the final one 8-1. Something to keep in mind heading into tonight’s contest.
Toronto’s gotten what they’ve been looking for out of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner so far in this series, but one guy who really needs to step up is John Tavares. He’s been invisible so far, and a big game from him, especially when much of the defensive focus will be on Matthews and Marner, could be a difference maker.
The Lightning were able to even things up in Game Two, but it wasn’t as dominant a performance as we saw from the Leafs in Game One. That’s not a bad thing, but they’re going to need more out of Andrei Vasilevskiy than the 4 goals per game clip he’s currently on or their dreams of a threepeat are going to end quickly.
The Minnesota Wild were finally able to snap the Blues’ winning streak over them, and now head to St. Louis in a best of five with a little momentum swinging their way. After getting stoned by Ville Husso in Game One, the Wild lit him up for five plus an empty netter in Game Two, so if the Wild should continue to put pucks past him, will the Blues turn to Jordan Binnington to keep from going down two games to one?
The Kings probably feel pretty good about heading home with this series tied. They were fortunate to come out on top of a close game on Monday night and got the doors blown off in Game Two on Wednesday. They’re on home ice of their extremely cringe-y named arena, and they may want to consider a couple changes for tonight.
First, maybe Jonathan Quick isn’t getting it done for them, and they should Cal Peterson a shot here. Quick’s allowed nine goals in the first two games, and given that amount, they’re lucky to be tied. Second, whatever they’re doing on the PK needs to change, as the Oilers lethal PP is having a field day with them. They’ll also need to change things up on the PP, as the Oilers have been flawless on the kill so far.
The big question for the Oilers is which Mike Smith shows up tonight. Game One Mike Smith blew it with a brutal turnover, while Game Two Mike Smith looked unbeatable. I know the Oilers can outscore a lot of their problems, but that’s not actually a solid plan moving forward.