BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lighting are set for another postseason showdown. The two teams will match up for the third time since 2011, this time in the second round of the 2020 NHL Playoffs.
The matchup is set after the Philadelphia Flyers advanced with a win over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night, taking that series in six games. Philadelphia will now play the New York Islanders for a trip to the Eastern Conference finals.
Game 1 of the Boston-Tampa Bay series is set for 8 p.m. on Sunday night.
The Bruins and Lightning were supposed to square off last year, when the Lightning were the best team in the East, but Tampa Bay was swept out of the opening round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’ll now meet in the East semis for the second time in three years, with the Lightning taking their last postseason meeting in just five games back in 2018.
Boston got the best of the Lightning back in the 2011 Eastern Conference finals, winning a dramatic seven-game series en route to their Stanley Cup title.
As for this year’s matchup, the Bruins didn’t enjoy much regular season success against the Lightning, going 1-2-1 against Tampa. They also dropped their matchup in round robin play, 3-2 on Aug. 5, sinking the Presidents’ Trophy winners to the No. 4 seed in the East.
It was a brutal loss for the Bruins two weeks ago in Toronto. They fell behind 2-0 in the first period, eventually tying the game early in the third on a goal by Chris Wagner. The game looked destined for overtime, until Tyler Johnson beat Tuukka Rask with just 1:27 left on the clock. Boston finished 0-3 in round robin play before beating the Carolina Hurricanes in five games in the first round.
In the regular season, Tampa took the first matchup with a 4-3 shootout victory in Boston back in October. David Pastrnak scored twice and Patrice Bergeron had Boston’s other goal (all three on the power play), while Brayden Point, Mathieu Joseph and Kevin Shattenkirk scored for Tampa. Steven Stamkos scored the only goal of the shootout.
The Bruins lost in Tampa on Dec. 12, 3-2, with Stamkos scoring twice for the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov notched a pair of assists, while Bergeron and John Moore scored for Boston.
Boston won their only game over Tampa on March 3 in Florida, a 2-1 victory on goals by Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk. Tuukka Rask stopped 20 of the 21 shots he saw that night. Tampa Bay got some revenge a few days later in Boston, handing the Bruins a 5-3 loss on March 7. Tampa jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period, with Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev scoring shorthanded goals in the first period. Five different Lightning scored against Rask that night.
Of course, Rask won’t be in net for Boston after he opted out of the NHL bubble last weekend. Jaroslav Halak is now Boston’s top netminder, and will see the Lightning for the first time since the 2017-18 season when he was a member of the Islanders. Halak made a relief appearances against Tampa that season, allowing one goal on 12 shots in a 7-6 loss, after Christopher Gibson allowed six goals over a period and a half.