By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins won Game 7 on Wednesday night on home ice. It was a truly glorious moment for every player involved. But once they all put their heads on their pillows, it was time to move on immediately from that inspiring comeback victory.
That’s because the Bruins will have to quickly turn the page and get to work on preparing for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who haven’t played a game since Saturday after defeating the Devils in just five games. The Lightning will be by far the more well-rested team when the series begins on Saturday afternoon.
The hockey world will find out whether it’s better to be rested or better to enter with the momentum and energy of winning a long and difficult series. Here’s the full schedule for the Bruins-Lightning second-round schedule:
Game 1: Saturday, April 28, 3 p.m., in Tampa
Game 2: Monday, April 30, 7 p.m., in Tampa
Game 3: Wednesday, May 2, 7 p.m., in Boston
Game 4: Friday, May 4, 7 p.m., in Boston
Game 5 (if necessary): Sunday, May 6, Time TBD, in Tampa
Game 6 (if necessary): Tuesday, May 8, Time TBD, in Boston
Game 7 (if necessary): Thursday, May 10, Time TBD, in Tampa
Of course, it may seem a bit odd that the second-best team in the Eastern Conference has to play its second-round playoff series on the road. But that’s because the NHL playoff system is a bit odd. By separating teams by division, the league set up their playoff system to allow for such a scenario to happen.
Of course, there’s no room for the Bruins to complain about it; they could have simply won one more game in the final week of the season, including Game No. 82 against a Panthers team that had nothing to play for, if they really wanted home ice throughout the playoffs. Now, they’ll have to be sharper in the second round than they were in the first round, knowing they won’t have the luxury of a potential Game 7 being at home.
‘Well, they’ve had some time to rest, and if they had any injuries, probably get a little healthier. But, that’s the advantage of winning in five. If we had done the same thing, then we would have that advantage as well,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “But, for us, I guess going into it Saturday, we are battle-tested now, and we’ve got to bring that mentality into the next round. Enjoy the win tonight, decompress tomorrow, and then let’s get back on the ice Friday and get ready to go and do what we have to do to prepare for Tampa.”