Boston Bruins

By Ty Anderson,

The hottest take you’ll hear all day? Game 4 is pretty damn important to the Boston Bruins.

Down in their second-round series against the Lightning, tonight’s Game 4 is the difference between going back to Tampa Bay tied at two wins each or entering enemy territory on the brink of elimination and in need of three straight victories. The Lightning, by the way, had just two three-game losing streaks during the entire season.

Oh, and the Bruins haven’t played from almost any position of strength in the last 120 minutes of hockey.

“We saw that in certain areas we need to better, more urgent, and that’s what we are looking for in Game 4,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said after Thursday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “[In] pretty much every aspect of the game, we need to be better. It’s pretty obvious that there’s room to improve.”

But the importance of a victory tonight goes beyond the obvious difference of each potential situation.

In a five-year rolling sample (since 2014), teams that won Game 4 of their series have gone on to win the series a staggering 42 out of 68 times. That includes an 8-0 series mark for those teams that won Game 4 in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, too, which is good for a 61.8 percent success rate in this regard.

If you want to keep it to just this second round alone, all three teams that entered Game 4 down two games to one found a way to pull out Game 4 victories, with the Bruins looking to make that figure a perfect 4-for-4 tonight.

And going back to 2008 with a Bruins-focused angle, the team that has won Game 4 of a playoff series involving the Bruins has gone to win the series 16 out of 18 times. The lone exceptions came in 2014 against the Canadiens and 2013 against the Rangers. The B’s won that Game 4 against the Habs, but ultimately lost in seven games, while New York’s Game 4 victory in 2013 was their last gasp of sorts. Both series, if this matters much, came in the second round.

Zeroing in on these games even further, the Bruins are 3-3 in Game 4 contests since 2008 when trailing a series two games to one, with their last win coming back in that aforementioned 2014 Game 4 against the Habs. The last time the Bruins were in this situation was just last spring, when they dropped Game 4 of their first-round series to the Senators by a maddening 1-0 final, a series they ultimately lost in Boston in a Game 6 overtime defeat.

“We talked about having a clean slate and moving on from the past. You can’t change it now. We’re down 2-1, and we’re gonna need a fresh start,” Rick Nash said. “We’re at home, so it’s gonna be a huge game for us.”

And if we’re to put any sort of stock in the numbers, it’s huge to say the least.

Game 4 can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.