Boston Bruins

Nov 1, 2019; Uniondale, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) and New York Islanders center Anders Lee (27) battle for the puck at center ice during the third period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com

With the Capitals officially eliminated from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the list of potential round-two opponents has been sliced down to two, leaving Boston with either the Lightning or Islanders.

And that opponent will be determined by the Canadiens and Flyers, too.

If Philadelphia, currently up 3-2 in their opening-round showdown with Montreal, handles the Canadiens, the B’s will face off with the Lightning in a round-two battle of Atlantic Division powerhouses.

These sides are more than familiar with one another, too, with five head-to-head matchups in 2019-20 between the regular season and round-robin tournament. The Lightning took four of those five meetings, and made ‘quick’ work of the pesky Blue Jackets in five games in round one, which included a five-overtime marathon Game 1.

The Bruins and Lightning last met in the 2018 postseason. The Bolts made quick work of the Bruins in that series, too, winning four straight games after dropping Game 1 at Amalie Arena. Prior to that, the teams had last met in 2011, when the Bruins won an epic seven-game series with Tampa Bay for the Prince of Wales Trophy en route to a Stanley Cup.

Tampa Bay remains without captain Steven Stamkos, who has missed every game in the bubble as he continues to work his way back from pre-pandemic surgery to repair a core muscle injury, though you really wouldn’t know it.

But if the Canadiens can rally and complete their comeback with three straight victories after falling down 3-1, the Bruins and Islanders will lock themselves into a second-round head-to-head.

Boston went 2-0-1 against the Islanders in 2019-20, and have captured wins in five of six meetings since Barry Trotz took over as the team’s head coach in 2018. The Bruins have outscored the Islanders 19-to-7 in those six games, too.

The Bruins and Islanders have not met in the postseason since their 1983 conference final showdown. The Islanders won that series, four games to two, and are 2-0 all-time in playoff series against the Bruins, with their other win coming in the 1980 quarterfinals.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.