The Eastern Conference finals continue tonight, Thursday May 19th, in Florida, as the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Boston Bruins in a crucial Game 3 at St. Pete Times Forum. The best-of-seven series is split 1-1. The Bruins took three out of four from Tampa Bay this year and outscored the Lightning by a combined 15-8 margin in the regular-season series. NHL oddsmakers have the Lightning as -135 moneyline home favourites over the Bruins (+115) with the over/under set at 5.5 goals. Be sure to check the Bruins vs Lightning NHL Point Spreads and get your predictions in early.
Boston (9-4, 4-1 V) responded with a 6-5 decision in Tuesday's Game 2. The Bruins were led by rookie Tyler Seguin in the Game 2 victory, as the second overall pick in the 2010 draft recorded a career-best four points with two goals and two assists. Michael Ryder notched two goals and a helper, while Nathan Horton added a goal and two assists for the Bruins, who scored five times in the second period and led the contest 6-3 after two periods. Goalie Tim Thomas picked up the win despite allowing a postseason-high five goals on 41 shots. He made 13 saves in the third period to help Boston's lead stand up for the win. "I am not really worried that they scored five goals because we were able to score six and that was a really good thing," Thomas said. "We found a way to win and they guys on this team deserve credit for that. They did an excellent job but we still haven't played as well as we can." The Bruins also went 2-for-6 on the power play in Game 2, giving Boston four goals on the man advantage in its last four games. Boston failed to score a single power-play goal in its first nine games this postseason and is 4-for-47 with the man advantage in the playoffs. With the way Seguin has played it's hard to imagine he would be out of the lineup even if Bergeron, who sustained a concussion in the final game of Boston's conference semifinals sweep of Philadelphia, is able to play this evening. Bergeron, a valuable two-way forward for the Bruins, has been practicing with the team and could play tonight. "I'm going to tell you right now [Seguin is] going to be in the lineup [Thursday]," Julien said. "That's for sure. You don't pull a guy like that out of your lineup that's been very good. He's earned it and he deserves to be in the lineup and that's what we want to see."
Tampa Bay (9-4, 3-2 H) captain Vincent Lecavalier tallied a goal and three assists in Game 2 for the Lightning, but his club's playoff winning streak ended at eight games. It was Tampa's first loss since dropping Game 4 to Pittsburgh in the first round. Adam Hall, Steven Stamkos, Dominic Moore and Martin St. Louis also scored in the loss. Dwayne Roloson was lit up for six goals on 27 shots through two periods and was pulled from a game for the first time in this year's playoffs. Mike Smith halted all eight shots he faced in the third. "To be honest it was a pond hockey game," Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. "When you play a pond hockey game there is always a chance that it won't turn your way. Your breakaways, my breakaways, your 2-on-1s, my 2-on-1s — it might be exciting for the fans but from the team's prospective and standpoint it is not how we've played."
Recent Trends to Consider:
Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Bruins are 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Home team is 9-4 in the last 13 meetings.
Lightning are 5-0 in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.
Lightning are 8-1 in their last 9 vs. a team with a winning record.
Lightning are 8-1 in their last 9 vs. Eastern Conference.
Bruins are 4-0 in their last 4 games as a road underdog of +110 to +150.
Bruins are 5-0 in their last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.
Bruins are 6-1 in their last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
Bruins are 6-1 in their last 7 overall.
Bruins vs Lightning
When: Thursday, May-19, 8:00 PM ET
Pick: Lightning -135
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The Bottom Line: Tampa should get the win, but the Bruins have a new superstar in their line-up that will give them some much needed offense. When in doubt go with home team. Be sure to check Bruins vs Lightning Hockey Point Spreads and get your predictions in early.