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Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Sean Bergenheim (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period in game four of the second round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs at St. Pete Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones (Douglas Jones/St Pete Times Forum)
Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Sean Bergenheim (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Washington Capitals during the second period in game four of the second round of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs at St. Pete Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones (Douglas Jones/St Pete Times Forum)

Rest vs. Rust: <br>Is nine days off good or bad?</br> Add to ...

Here's a debate that seems to come up often in the NHL playoffs, one worth discussing when it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning and their long wait.

How much rest is too much during the postseason? And does as long as a nine day wait hurt them heading into Round 3?

During the regular season, NHL teams rarely get breaks of even four days other than the all-star break, but with the Western Conference series both going to Game 6 (and maybe beyond), the Lightning haven't played since sweeping the Washington Capitals last Wednesday.

If the Vancouver Canucks end their second round series tonight and the San Jose Sharks do the same tomorrow, the Eastern Conference finals between Tampa and the Boston Bruins could potentially start by Wednesday.

But if they don't and those series head to Game 7, the wait for the Lightning will likely be nine days.

Now, if you're a team with several bodies really banged up and hoping for time to heal, that might not be a bad thing. (And Pavel Kubina and Simon Gagne could use it after sitting some games in the last round.)

But Tampa also had plenty of momentum after Round 2, winning seven games in a row and getting stellar performances from netminder Dwayne Roloson and many of their supporting players.

If you subscribe to the idea that rust will be a factor in that situation, the only good news is that the Bruins will have been idle since sweeping their series last Friday. (They're hoping the extra time means good things for Patrice Bergeron, who's battling a concussion.)

It's a strange situation, with two teams sitting and practising for longer than they have since training camp last September. But will all that time off make for two rested teams? Or two rusty ones?

And will having this big break, midway through the playoffs, pay off for the team that makes the finals?

Expect that to be the storyline whenever those two teams finally take the ice again.

 

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