The Vancouver Canucks have already sewn up their place in the Stanley Cup Finals. The Boston Bruins can join them in NHL betting action on Wednesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum if they can win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to close out the Tampa Bay Lightning.
For the first few minutes of Monday night’s Game 5, Tim Thomas really looked like he was going to be in for a long night. He had already conceded a goal in the first 69 seconds of the game against the Bolts, and he knew that he was facing just a barrage of shots. But give him all of the credit in the world. He hung in there, kept making stop after stop, and eventually, his offense picked him up and got him over the hump. Perhaps the end of the game came in the third period when he stoned Teddy Purcell on a wraparound opportunity, one in which he made one of the most brilliant stick saves that you’ll ever see. Since that point, the Tampa Bay offense just hasn’t looked the same, and if Thomas can stay in its head like that, this series could be over without having to head back to Beantown for Game 7 on Friday night. The Bruins can still rest easily knowing that they are 35-16-5 over the course of their last 56 meetings with Tampa Bay, and that they are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 against teams from the Southeast Division.
Tampa Bay knows that the home team is 11-5 in the last 16 clashes in this series, but Head Coach Guy Boucher and company know that they certainly have their backs up against the wall. That being said, Dwayne Roloson, who is 6-0 all-time in elimination games in the playoffs (including 3-0 this year), will be the man getting the call. Boucher classified this move to switch back from Mike Smith, who lost his first career playoff start on Wednesday as a bit of a no brainer. Roloson, after all, is the man that really got the Lightning to this point in their season, Boucher said that Roloson was as good as anyone in the league when he had a few days off, and that the fact that he has had three days to prepare for this game will be key. The Lightning still don’t know the status of the leading goal scorer in the postseason, Sean Bergenheim, who has an undisclosed injury and could be kept out of the fold in Game 6 after missing the final two periods of Game 5. Either way, men like Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent LeCavalier really need to set up to the table to help this unit out, or this team’s season will come to an end.
Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Pick: Some way, some how, the Lightning just keep finding ways to stick around in these playoffs right now. Until Roli gets beaten in a spot like this, we have to keep backing him. We expect to see another low scoring game in which one or two goals might be enough, and this time around, we think that home ice advantage will stand up. Go with the Lightning -120.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.