Tampa Bay Lightning must remain consistent against Bruins in Game 4

(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning is entering a pivotal game against the Boston Bruins in Game 4 and must remain consistent if they want to extend their series lead.

The Tampa Bay Lightning has quickly seized control of the series against the Boston Bruins, bringing home victories in Games 2 and 3. If the Lightning wants to remain successful and steal another victory from the Bruins in front of their hometown crowd, they are going to have to bring their ‘A’ game to the ice.

Everyone here in the Bolts Nation knows how talented the Lightning roster is at this stage in the game. The Bolts have some of the best young players in the game right now. The thing is, talent means very little if you don’t properly execute. The biggest key to success is going to be consistency.

Much like in Game 3, the Lightning will need to come out of the tunnel ready to make an impact. Striking first and striking hard will be essential to knocking the Bruins off their game and shaking goaltender Tuukka Rask. We all know Rask has a bit of a temper on him. Rock him early, and the Bolts will easily get in his head.

The key here is, the Lightning will need to create a tempo they can maintain for a whole 60 minutes of hockey. The Bruins are the kind of team when given an inch; they will take a whole mile from you. Even if the Lightning ends up with an early lead, they will need to continue to apply pressure.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

This means being aggressive with the puck, controlling the puck in the zone, making smart passes, and taking shots from everywhere on the ice. It also means the defense will have to be strong on the forecheck. Allowing the Bruins to walk into the zone and make moves in the defensive end never works out well for the Bolts.

The Lightning will also need another strong game from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy’s stats are a little skewed based on the Lightning’s sub-par performance in Game 1, but since then Vasy has backstopped the Bolts to two consecutive victories, coming up huge when it really mattered the most.

It seems as if the Bruins will be getting back a piece to their offensive game. The Bruins announced earlier today forward Ryan Donato will rejoin the lineup against the Lightning in Game 4. Donato hasn’t played a single postseason game since the Bruins took on the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 2 of the first round.

Donato came up pretty big for the Bruins in the handful of games he played in the regular season. In 12 games, Donato brought home five goals and four assists for a total of nine points. Granted, this isn’t a very big sample size, but he could provide the spark the Bruins needed to get back in the series.

The Lightning will need to continue to shut down the Bruins top line, which has been quite productive throughout the series. The Bruins may need to do some tinkering to their lineup heading into tonight’s game. According to Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, forward Brad Marchand is a game-time decision.

The same can be said for Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk. Before anyone gets too excited about the prospect of Marchand not playing in tonight’s game, Cassidy goes on to say he expects the two of them to play.

A victory in tonight’s game would definitely be a turning point for the Tampa Bay Lightning, affording them an opportunity to close this thing out on Sunday night in front of their hometown fans at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. In order for them to get to this place, they are going to have to come up big against a team who is desperate for some redemption and ready to lay it all out on the line to stay in this series.

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The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 p.m. As usual, the game can be seen on the NBC Sports Network. If you’re not a fan of the NBC commentary or unable to make your way to a television, you can always listen to Dave Mishkin and Phil Esposito make the call on 970WFLA or TBL Power Play on iHeartRadio.