Defense, Defense, Defense
It can not be overstated how important defense is in playoff hockey. The Bruins defense seemed to struggle against the Toronto Maple Leafs speed and youth. The Bruins will now have to focus on some different aspects of their game.
Steven Stamkos is a deadly shooter. His weapon of choice being the one-timer, so the Bruins need to limit the Lightning’s zone time and not allow them to set up Stamkos with these great opportunities. This will also cause the Bruins to have to get the puck out of the zone easily. At times versus Toronto it seemed like there was a force field on the Bruins blue line. The puck magically found a way to stay in their zone. The Bruins can’t let the Lightning get comfortable. They need to apply pressure and clear the puck on the first try, not the fifth.
Another focus for the defense will be not allowing Nikita Kucherov to gain open ice. The Russian will make you pay if you give him room to breathe. I would expect Patrice Bergeron to be on the ice whenever Kucherov is. The Selke Award finalist should be able to shut him down.
It’s hard to imagine the Bruins losing if Rask and Nash perform well, and the defense is a stonewall.