Kukla's Korner

He Asked, I Answered (ECF Vol. 5): On the Best-of-Three for a Crack at the Cup, Goalies and More

Throughout the Eastern Conference Final, Matt Kalman of TheBruinsBlog.net and I will be providing some insight from our respective sides with reaction to each game result and a look to what’s ahead via a series of Q&As.

In this morning’s installment, I attempt to make some sort of prediction for how the final three games of the Eastern Conference Final will shake out (kind of), touch on the possibility of a more aggressive Lightning squad (sort of) and offer up a little insight on the now slightly muddled Tampa Bay goaltending picture (maybe).

As you can tell from that lead-in, what’s turned into a best-of-three has a lot of us guessing in a lot of areas, based on what we’ve seen to this point (which is a little bit of everything).

***

MK: Well, you put me on the spot about making a prediction. Can you get a handle on what’s going to happen in this series?

As you saw in my answer, all I can guarantee is that if the Bruins’ No. 1 line of David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic doesn’t produce, the Lightning will go to the final. But what’s your take after seeing the Lightning all year? Do they have what it takes to replicate the last two periods of Game 4 and win two more games, or will they revert to Game 3 form?

JJ: The Lightning definitely have what it takes to win this series – somewhere in there.

Having won games one and four in strikingly different fashion – 1 in a near-dominant performance throughout, and 4 in a stunning comeback – they’ve shown they’re more than capable. But, Tampa Bay has also dropped games two and three in widely varying ways.

So, what they’re left with is figuring out how to stay on the successful side of what appears to be a very fine line. How do they do that? The Bolts would be wise to start with not turning pucks over as frequently as they did in the two games here in Tampa. Aside from that, it’s the same old, same old. Stick with the system and so on and so forth … You’ve heard this all before.

Yeah, they have it in them for sure. “It” has been out for half of the series to this point. But half of what’s left is only a game and a half, if my simple math is accurate.

And it’s going to take two more wins for either side to reach the Stanley Cup Final. Since a game and a half won’t do, the Lightning obviously have some fine-tuning to do to put themselves in position to win this thing.

***

For the rest of this latest Q&A, head on over to TheBruinsBlog.net.

Enjoy game five, gang.

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

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