Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM
East Semifinal Cheat Sheet
A – Atlantic
M – Metropolitan
1A Tampa Bay vs. 2A Boston
Lightning: 54-23-5, 113 points
Bruins: 50-20-12, 112 points
Season series: The Lightning had their issues with the Bruins this season by dropping three of four matchups. These two Atlantic division rivals met only once in the first five months of the season, a 3-2 victory by the Bruins at TD Garden on November 29.
The next three meetings came in a three-week span late in the season as the Lightning were blanked by the Bruins at home, 3-0 as -150 favorites on March 17. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves in the victory for Boston, as the B’s were wrapping up a four-game road trip. Boston downed Tampa Bay once again on March 29 at TD Garden, 4-2 to send the Lightning to its third straight loss. Tampa Bay finally broke through on April 3 with a 4-0 home shutout behind Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 33 saves.
Previous playoff series: The Lightning cruised past the Devils in five games of the first round as all four victories came by two goals or more. Following a pair of high-scoring contests in the first two games at home (five goals by the Lightning each), the Bolts beat the Devils, 3-1 in each of the last two games of this series to advance.
The Bruins held off the Maple Leafs in seven games after squandering a 3-1 series advantage. Boston is facing Tampa Bay in the playoffs for the first time since the 2011 conference finals as the Bruins took out the Lightning in seven games.
1M Washington vs. 2M Pittsburgh
Capitals: 49-26-7, 105 points
Penguins: 47-29-6, 100 points
Season series: The Capitals and Penguins are no strangers to meeting up in the playoffs, but it’s been all Pittsburgh when these Metro division rivals hook up. In each of the past two seasons, the Penguins have eliminated the Capitals in the conference semifinals, only to eventually hoist the Stanley Cup. Amazingly, in all five runs to Stanley Cup titles in Penguins’ franchise history, Pittsburgh has knocked out Washington sometime in that postseason.
Washington and Pittsburgh split four regular season meetings this season with each team winning once at home and once on the road. The Penguins grabbed the first matchup at Capital One Arena on October 11 by a 3-2 score as +115 underdogs. Washington bounced back with a 4-1 blowout of Pittsburgh as slight home ‘dogs on November 10, as the Capitals scored three unanswered goals for the win.
The next two matchups took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh as the Pens routed the Capitals, 7-4 as -150 favorites on February 2. Washington goalie Braden Holtby allowed six goals in the loss, while Phil Kessel netted a pair of goals in the win for Pittsburgh. The Capitals picked up the split on April 1 with a 3-1 victory behind 36 saves from Phillip Grubauer.
In four games, Penguins’ star Sidney Crosby did not register a single goal against the Capitals, while not scoring a goal in the last nine matchups with Washington.
Previous playoff series: Pittsburgh eliminated state rival Philadelphia in six games, including posting a perfect 3-0 road record in the series. The Pens scored at least five goals in all four victories, while finishing off the Flyers with eight goals in the Game 6 clincher. Pittsburgh has won nine straight playoff series since the start of the 2016 postseason, as the Pens needed seven games to rid of the Capitals last season.
Washington fell behind Columbus, 2-0 in the opening round thanks to a pair of home overtime losses. The Capitals stormed back by winning the next four games of the series, including two OT victories of their own in Games 3 and 5. Washington hit the OVER in all three home contests, while scoring 14 goals in the final three wins.