The Bruins survived a wild series against Toronto, grinding a memorable Game 7 win Wednesday night after they let a 3-1 series lead evaporate with consecutive losses. Waiting for them in Tampa Bay is a well-rested Lightning team that has not played since eliminating the Devils last Saturday.
So what will it take for the Bruins to beat Tampa, which finished the season atop the Eastern Conference with 113 points?
Part of the Bruins' charm is their combination of young talent and grizzled veterans. Jake DeBrusk, Boston’s 21-year-old left wing, emerged as one of the team’s most dependable forwards in the first round. His five goals tied David Pastrnak for the team lead, and DeBrusk’s ability to be physical with his forechecks powered his game.
DeBrusk saved the Bruins' season Wednesday night with two goals, including one 5:25 seconds into the third period that gave the Bruins a 5-4 lead in their 7-4 Game 7 victory.
This has been the theme this season for the Bruins, whose success with young talent has made for a stunning impression throughout the league. Rookie Danton Heinen played well in the first half of the regular season and tied with DeBrusk for fifth on the team with 16 goals. He was scratched in Game 6, but returned to score a goal in Game 7. Ryan Donato, who left Harvard to join the Bruins, scored nine points in the final 12 games.
Their fourth line of Tim Schaller, Sean Kuraly, and Noel Acciari contributed eight points in the series against the Maple Leafs.
In preparation for the second-round series between the Lightning and Bruins, Bostonsportsjournal.com asked a Western Conference scout who has studied both teams to assess the matchup.