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TAMPA http://www.officiallightningprostore.com/authentic-adidas-mikhail-sergachev-jersey , Fla. — There’s a recent familiarity between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, who meet in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs after playing each other twice in the final 12 games of the regular season.
“It’s like starting over again,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of the series that begins Saturday at Amalie Arena. “There’s a little bit of the unknown. You have to develop a little of that hatred, or passion, whatever the word is against a similar opponent every night. I assume that will happen fast.”
The Lightning won the division title and have the top seed in the Eastern Conference after edging the Bruins by a point in the standings. The pivotal game was the fourth and final meeting, when the Lightning posted a key 4-0 victory in Tampa.
The matchup initially is about rust vs. rest — the Lightning got a full week off after eliminating the New Jersey Devils in five games, allowing them time off while the Bruins needed a full seven games to advance past the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I think the guys are excited,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You always say you want time off, and we’ve had six days. The guys want to get back into it. There’s a lot of ‘Let’s get this going.'”
Boston won the first three meetings in the regular season by a combined score of 10-4, so the Bruins can have confidence going into the matchup, regardless of seeding and home-ice advantage.
The Bruins are a well-rounded playoff team, ranking in the NHL’s top six in scoring, goals allowed, power play and penalty kill.
The Lightning are a tiny bit better in scoring Adidas Dustin Brown Jersey , leading the league with 3.5 goals per game, and barely better on the power play, converting 23.9 percent of their opportunities.
Tampa Bay’s special teams were a strength in the series against New Jersey — their penalty kill, once a liability, killed off 16 of 19 Devils power plays, and the Lightning went 5 of 9 on power plays in the first three games before an 0-of-10 drought in the final two, both Tampa Bay wins.
Nikita Kucherov set a Lightning record for points in a playoff series with five goals and five assists, but Boston’s David Pastrnak can trump that, getting five goals and eight assists in his series against Toronto. Steven Stamkos, quiet overall in scoring in the last series, was a team-best plus-4 when on the ice just the same.
Tampa Bay finished the regular season with momentum coming off the 4-0 win over Boston, which carried into the New Jersey series.
“In the end, our team had to pick up our play,” Cooper said. “I don’t know that we were at the same intensity level.”
Game 1 and 2 are Saturday and Monday in Tampa Authentic Dorian O'Daniel Jersey , with the next two games in Boston, before alternating the final three games if necessary.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted to be talking about football matters – Seattle’s recommitment to the run game, the addition of two new coordinators, almost anything to do with what happens between the lines.
Instead, the league’s oldest coach has spent the past few days processing and discussing the league’s new mandate that players on the field stand for the national anthem. Carroll, his players and those around the NFL are now trying to figure out how to tackle the polarizing topic in the locker room.
”We’re going to have to deal with that,” Carroll said. ”I was kind of liking the way it was going and so now it’s kind of taken out of the control from the coach and the players and the locker room to a certain extent, so we’re going to have to deal with that. In time, we’ll figure it out.”
Players from Seattle, Buffalo, Denver and New Orleans were among those grappling with how to move forward following the league’s announcement Wednesday of a new national anthem policy, which will fine teams if players on the field are not standing for the anthem. Players wishing to continue demonstrations like the kneeling movement sparked by Colin Kaepernick to protest social injustice will be allowed to remain in the locker room during the anthem.
Seattle’s Doug Baldwin had the most striking comments, directed at both the league and President Donald Trump after his remarks to ”Fox & Friends” on Thursday saying ”maybe you shouldn’t be in the country” if you don’t stand for the anthem.
”He’s an idiot. Plain and simple,” Baldwin said. ”I respect the man because he’s a human being first and foremost Youth Frank Ragnow Jersey , but he’s just being divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. But for him to say anybody who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents viewpoints should be kicked out of the country is not very empathetic. It’s not very American like, actually, to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon. It’s kind of ironic to me the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
Even normally reserved Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson agreed with the sentiment that the owners’ decision was a message to players to essentially be quiet.
”Pretty much. I think that’s part of it. It seems that way,” Wilson said. ”But I think a policy right or wrong is not going to fix our problems.”
The new policy allows teams to adopt their own workplace rules, which many players interpreted as a backhanded way of subjecting them to fines, suspensions or loss of jobs should they carry on with the protests.
Players are also frustrated the league didn’t consult with the players’ association before announcing the policy.
”I mean, they weren’t ever going to engage us anyway. When you really think about it, why would we have a say-so?” Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall said. ”I think they should have, right, but I guess they don’t look at us like that, to have a say-so or input in this policy.”
Others around the league didn’t see the policy as a potential issue.
”I’m really not too worried about it. I would expect that everybody’s gonna be out there with their hand over their heart, showing respect to the flag and to the country,” New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees said.
But teammate Demario Davis had mixed emotions about the policy. His father served in the military Youth Mike McGlinchey Jersey , but he also understands why players have been protesting.
”I just think that when you love something – you care about it – you want to work to get it right. I love my children. When they do wrong things, I’m going to let them know they’re doing wrong things. I’m not just going to sweep it under the rug because I love them,” Davis said.
”I think that’s the difference between patriotism and nationalism. Nationalism is loving your country just to love it, you know, even when it’s right or wrong, you’re going to take the side of your country. Patriotism is loving it enough to sacrifice for it, but also to call it (out) when it’s wrong.
”The people who are speaking up for the people who are hurting have a deep love and devotion for our country. That’s kind of gotten misconstrued at times. But it’s important for people to understand that.”
The decision by the owners was an attempt to quell a firestorm by moving protests away from the public eye and potentially lure back disgruntled fans. But in the process they may have disgruntled their employees and rekindled what appeared to be an issue that was dying down.
”With this policy, with the inflammatory statement that Roger Goodell put out (Wednesday) again you opened the door for response and again to my point earlier, I think they missed it on that one,” Baldwin said.
AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton and AP Sports Writer Brett Martel contributed to this report.
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