A brief roundup of ESPN predictions for the Bruins-Lightning Eastern Conference finals series:
ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald: The absence of Bruins forward and assistant captain Patrice Bergeron for the start of this series scares me. He's been the team's best player during the Stanley Cup playoffs. But, I believe the Bruins have the goaltending and the defense and should beat the Lightning en route to their first visit to the Cup finals since 1990. Bruins in 7.
ESPNBoston.com's James Murphy: If the Bruins can continue to play their game and stay within the moment without looking ahead, they should be able to come out victorious in what should be a classic series. Just like in the Western Conference finals with the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks, the Bruins and Lightning are evenly matched and this series should go the distance. In the end, Tim Thomas' and the Bruins' physical, grinding style should be the difference and the Bruins will advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Bruins in 7.
ESPN's NHL experts: Four of the six analysts pick the Lightning to win. The other two -- Barry Melrose (he expounds on his prediction here) and John Buccigross -- pick the Bruins to win in seven games.