Tampa Bay hasn’t played in a week Youth Christian Djoos Jersey
, while Boston is coming off a hard-fought, seven-game playoff series.
Neither the Lightning nor the less-rested Bruins expect that to mean anything when their second-round playoff series begins Saturday.
A single point separated the Atlantic Division rivals in the standings after the race for the top seed in Eastern Conference came down to the final night of the regular season, and there’s every reason to believe this best-of-seven matchup will be just as tight.
”Obviously, these were the top two teams in the division, and it was a close call until the last game on who was going to finish first and second,” Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said.
”It’s going to be a tough matchup. They are great team, so are we,” the Norris Trophy finalist said. ”It’s going to come down to the small detail in the game. We have the skill and depth up front to score goals, but we have to keep the puck out of our net.”
Boston won three of four meetings between the teams the regular season.
The Bruins won their opening round playoff series against Toronto in seven games. Tampa Bay, led by Nikita Kucherov’s 10 points (five goals, five assists) eliminated New Jersey in five games after going 0-3-1 against the Devils.
”I think you learn that the regular season means nothing,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. ”We know how they play. Very competitive group, very well structured Authentic Erik Karlsson Jersey Kids
, especially that top line. … We’re expecting a very tight series against a very good hockey team.”
The Bruins are bracing for a tough test, too.
”It’s going to be a battle,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. ”They were a top team all year. They compete very hard, have a ton of skill, and they have a lot of depth.”
THEY ALL COUNT
The Lightning earned home-ice advantage for the series by finishing one point ahead of Boston in the standings. In fact, it all came down to the final night of the season, when the Bruins were playing Florida in a makeup game for a Jan. 4 game postponed by a snowstorm.
The Panthers won 4-2, leaving Boston with 112 points to 113 for Tampa Bay.
”We’re not going to allow one game to define us, yet we understand the meaning,” coach Bruce Cassidy said then. ”We let one get away, an opportunity lost to have home-ice advantage, and we’ll see if that haunts us down the road. I think it’s too early to tell that right now.”
NOT THE FIRST TIME
The Lightning and Bruins are facing each other in the postseason for only the second time. The other meeting was in the 2011 Eastern Conference Final, won by Boston in seven games.
FALLING IN LINE
In the four playoff games the Bruins won against Toronto Danton Heinen Jersey Kids
, the trio of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had a combined 30 points. In the three games they lost, they were held completely scoreless.
”They’re our most important line,” defenseman Torey Krug said after they tallied three goals with four assists in Game 7. ”They’re the best line in the NHL, and when they’re going it’s hard to stop.”
Marchand will do whatever it takes to get under the skin of his opponents, and in the first round that meant skating up to Toronto forward Leo Komarov and appearing to lick his face. (In November, he appeared to kiss Komarov on the cheek.)
”I thought he wanted to cuddle. I just wanted to get close to him,” Marchand explained after the playoff game. ”He keeps trying to get close to me. I don’t know if he’s got a thing for me or what. He’s cute.”
Several news organizations reported this week that the NHL sent a message to Marchand to knock it off, but he said he has received no such message. ”This is false,” he tweeted in response to a Boston Globe story that picked up on the original report, from Sportsnet.
I KINDA LIKE HIM
Lightning coach Jon Cooper was asked how he views Marchand.
”To be honest, what I have seen of him, what goes on out on the ice Youth Corey Crawford Jersey
, he’s a competitive you know what and I love that. I think some of the greatest comments you can give a player is I hate that kid but I do wish he was on my team,” Cooper said.
”I was fortunate enough during the All-Star game to meet him … and off the ice to spend a little time. It actually was disappointing, I was hoping he was going to be an idiot. I was hoping I wasn’t going to like him,” Cooper added. ”But he was unreal, and it’s amazing that a guy who is that kind and nice and outgoing and friendly is the same guy who jumps on the ice. You have to respect that about him. And when that kids jumps on the ice, he comes to play.”
AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston contributed to this report.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Running back Donnel Pumphrey was among the players released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday.
Pumphrey was a fourth-round pick in 2017 after becoming the all-time NCAA rushing leader at San Diego State. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury and missed the first three preseason games this year because of injuries. Pumphrey could return on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
The Eagles also acquired safety Deiondre’ Hall from the Bears for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2019. Hall is suspended for the first game and won’t count against the 53-man roster.
Quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Joe Callahan, and veteran defensive end Steven Means also were released.
Safety Chris Maragos was placed on the physically unable to perform list, and defensive tackle Tim Jernigan on reserve/non-football injury list.
The list of players released also includes: receivers Kamar Aiken, Markus Wheaton, Rashard Davis, Darius Prince, Bryce Treggs, Greg Ward and Tim Wilson; running backs Matt Jones and Josh Adams; tight ends Anthony Denham Womens Robin Lehner Jersey
, Billy Brown and Gannon Sinclair; cornerbacks DJ Killings, De’Vante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan; linebackers Jaboree Williams, Kyle Wilson and Asantay Brown; defensive linemen Elijah Qualls, Joe Ostman, Danny Ezechukwu, Aziz Shittu and Winston Craig; offensive linemen Toby Weathersby, Aaron Evans, Jon Toth, Darrell Greene and Taylor Hart; and safeties Ironhead Gallon and Jeremy Reaves. Kansas City Chiefs Elite Jerseys