game preview

Video: Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick preview Game 7 of Eastern Conference finals

After last night’s Game 6 in Tampa, the Lightning and Bruins are set to play what should be a memorable Game 7 in Boston at 8 p.m. on Versus Friday night.

After what turned out to be a dud of a goaltending battle between Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson in Game 6, both teams will need to tighten things up defensively, the Bruins in particular. After giving up three power play goals in four chances, the Bruins defense and penalty kill units have some questions to answer for themselves. For three games in a row the Bruins PK shut things down nicely to frustrate the Lightning. Tampa’s effort to statistically correct things for themselves stunned Boston. They’ll need more of that in Game 7 if they want to make their first Stanley Cup finals since 2004.

If the Bruins are going to make their first finals since 1990 they’ll need to get back to “Bruins hockey” which means tough defense, great goaltending by Thomas, and getting the first goal of the game. Fast starts have helped the Bruins settle things down early and at home with the fans roaring behind them, getting ahead to start would help give Boston the edge with the fans getting even louder.

Versus’ Liam McHugh asks Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick what both teams will need to do to clinch their spot in the Stanley Cup finals.

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Video: Keith Jones and Mike Milbury preview Game 6 between Boston and Tampa Bay

Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals is set to go down tonight on Versus at 8 p.m. ET and for the Boston Bruins they’re looking to lock down their first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals since 1990. Tampa Bay has other ideas though and they’d like to send it to a winner-take-all Game 7 back in Boston.

For Tampa Bay, they’ll have Dwayne Roloson back in goal tonight after getting a breather for Game 5. Will a little bit of extra rest be enough to have the 41 year-old overcome the play of Boston’s Tim Thomas in goal though? He’ll need to be extremely tough to help the Lightning hang tight with the Bruins there.

Versus host Liam McHugh picks the brains of both Keith Jones and Mike Milbury to find out what they think the keys to tonight’s Game 6 are for both Tampa Bay and Boston.

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Video: Keith Jones and Mike Keenan preview Boston-Tampa Bay Game 4

With Game 4 between Boston and Tampa Bay going down this afternoon from Florida (1:30 p.m. ET on NBC) it’s a make or break game for the series as far as Tampa Bay is concerned. With the Bruins holding a 2-1 series lead, going down 3-1 and heading back to Boston for Game 5 does not make for an ideal situation for the Lightning.

After coming out so flat in Game 3, Tampa Bay will need to find that jump in their game that they showed in Game 1 of this series. Taking advantage of the Bruins when they’re shorthanded and pressuring Boston into making mistakes will be high on their list of priorities. For Boston, a lot of what they’ve done the last two games has been near flawless. In particular, Tim Thomas has been outstanding and him earning a 31-save shutout in Game 3 is emblematic of that.

Hockey Central’s Bill Patrick asks Keith Jones and Mike Keenan to take a look at both teams and what they need to do to force the issue in Game 4.

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Which way does momentum swing? Boston and Tampa Bay figure it out tonight in Game 3

Game 3 in a series is almost always a big one. Either a team can seize control of the series and put a team on the brink of elimination or they can seize momentum for at least a day or two and make their opponents sweat things out on the way to Game 4. Tonight’s Game 3 between Boston and Tampa Bay sees the latter come into effect as both sides have come out swinging in the Eastern Conference finals. With the series shifting to Tampa Bay tonight, the Lightning will hope that their run of great play at home will continue.

Boston @ Tampa Bay – 8 p.m. ET (Versus)Series tied 1-1

Boston comes into Game 3 with Patrice Bergeron looking to make his first appearance of the series and hoping to give the Bruins the edge at forward they were hoping to find all along. With Tyler Seguin doing his part and lighting things up through the first two games (three goals, six points in all) getting Bergeron into the mix would make the Bruins more than formidable across three lines worth of talent. While Milan Lucic has sat out the last two morning skates for the Bruins he’s good to go and will be hoping to make his first line with David Krejci and Nathan Horton more of an offensive force than they have been.

Both the Lightning and Bruins have some things to work on in tonight’s game and while we doubt there’ll be another goalfest like we had in Game 2, Tampa Bay will be hoping they can get a solid bounce back game from Dwayne Roloson. Roloson gave up six goals in Game 2 before being lifted in favor of Mike Smith. Roloson is prone to have games like this on occasion but he always comes back improved the following game. Tampa will need that from him tonight as they’ve been continuing to bring tons of offense to the playoffs scoring five goals in both Game 1 and Game 2.

Expect to see the Lightning’s top three lines to get things rolling even more on home ice and look for Guy Boucher to get the right lines out there against Boston to try and stir things up. Tampa’s been solid throughout the playoffs and while they rattled off eight wins in a row in the postseason and a let down can be expected at some point, Tampa will have to tighten things up to make sure it doesn’t turn into a losing streak.

Expect tonight’s affair to be as harsh and tough checking as it’s been all playoffs as we’re betting Boucher and Claude Julien put their teams to the task to get better defensively. Tampa Bay’s found ways to counter all strategies so far through the playoffs and they’ll need to do it again tonight. While the focus is on Seguin, we’ll be watching Steve Stamkos to see if the goal he got in the third period in Game 2 is what the doctor ordered to get his game rolling again.

Video: Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick preview Boston-Tampa Bay Game 3

After the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, we’re not totally sure we recognize all that’s going on between these two previously very defensive-minded teams. After seeing 18 total goals scored through the first two games of this series, however, we’re starting to wonder if perhaps firewagon hockey is back in effect for good.

While it’s all good fun for us to see such fast paced games with healthy amounts of goals thrown in for good measure, both the Bruins and Lightning will be looking to lock things down tighter and try to keep their opponents off the scoreboard. The Lightning’s vaunted 1-3-1 defensive attack and the Bruins physical defense have both been enchantingly absent so far in this series.

Versus’ Liam McHugh talks with Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick to break down what the Bruins need to do to get back to the defensive game plan that got them this far in the playoffs. After all, giving up five goals per game isn’t exactly a winning formula.

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