The Tampa Bay Lightning need to be better in Game 2 when they host the Boston Bruins in their second-round NHL playoff series.
The numbers say that the Lightning outshot the Bruins 36-24 in the first game of the series Saturday, but the Bruins came away with a 6-2 victory.
Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper pointed out that the final score doesn't even give the Bruins full credit.
"You can look at the outshot them, outattempted them, outchanced them, all that stuff," Cooper said, per Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times. "But what really mattered is they beat us 6-2, and really it was 7-2. They had one taken away on a penalty. So let's call it how it is."
Basically, the Bruins took it to the Lightning. Boston's big line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak contributed 11 points to the victory, while the Lightning's big line of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and J.T. Miller was held in check.
The No. 2 line centered by Brayden Point (minus-5 in Game 1) was in trouble as well and did not produce consistently.
Cooper did not like the way his team seemed to react to what the Bruins were doing instead of playing instinctive and proactive hockey. The Lightning need to be harder on the puck, more decisive in their checking and more effective over 200 feet.
The Lightning have lost a game on home ice. They can regain their advantage by winning either Game 3 or 4 in Boston. However, that task will grow far more complicated if they can't beat the Bruins on home ice in Game 2.
Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy is brimming with confidence at this point. After beating the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round and setting a tone in the series opener, he is putting no limitations on his team's capabilities.
"I honestly believe this year our mindset is, we can play with anybody," Cassidy said, per Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe.
The Bruins are a multi-dimensional team that skate well, are creative on offense and solid defensively. They have maintained the physical image that has been with the team for decades, and they have added young players in Charlie MacAvoy, Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and Matt Grzelcyk, who have given this team a jolt of energy.
The key issue may be the play of goaltender Tuukka Rask. While generally considered to be in the upper echelon of NHL goaltenders, Rask was up and down in the opening series against the Leafs. He appeared to be in fine form in the series opener against the Lightning.
Rask has a 2.81 goals-against average in eight playoff games, along with a .906 save percentage. If the Bruins are going to make a long run in the postseason, they need Rask to play up to or perhaps better than his career postseason numbers (2.20 GAA and .926 save percentage).
Stanley Cup Schedule
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7 p.m. ET, NBCSN. Boston leads series 1-0
Vegas Golden Knights at San Jose Sharks, 10 p.m. ET, NBCSN. Series tied 1-1
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins, 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN. Series tied 1-1
Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets, 8 p.m. ET, CNBC. Series tied 1-1
The San Jose Sharks bounced back nicely from their 7-0 loss in Game 1 with a 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.
That win allowed the Sharks to square the second-round series at 1-1, and now San Jose gets to play the next two games at home.
The Sharks were resilient in Game 2, showing they could skate and hit with the expansion Golden Knights, and they earned the key win when Logan Couture fired a wrist shot by Marc-Andre Fleury at the five minute, 13 second mark of the second extra session.
That was the first loss suffered by Vegas in the postseason, and the team is not likely to change its approach as they prepare to play Monday night's game in Northern California.
"We've had a pretty good run so far this season," Fleury said, per Danny Webster of NHL.com. "I feel like we won't change our way to do things, whether it's home or road. I don't think anyone's worried about going on the road."
The Sharks should get a lift from the return of Evander Kane, who was suspended for Game 2 after delivering a cross check to the face of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Kane scored nine goals and 14 points in 17 regular-season games after being acquired by the Sharks from the Buffalo Sabres. He scored three goals and four assists in the first-round sweep of the Anaheim Ducks.
"He's a big part of our team," head coach Peter DeBoer said, per Eric Gilmore of NHL.com. "We're obviously a better team with him in the lineup. I said yesterday prior to the game that this group won a lot of games prior to us getting Kane, and I was very confident that our group could go out there and get the job done last night and they did."