Home > Boston Bruins > Thomas shuts out the Lightning in game 3, Bruins up 2-1

Thomas shuts out the Lightning in game 3, Bruins up 2-1

Boston has struck again, winning game 3, 2-0. Tim Thomas picked up just his 2nd shutout in his postseason career in a very good performance. While he wasn’t great, the Boston defense was. And the offense gave Thomas an early lead to work with, scoring just 1:09 into the game. Patrice Bergeron was back for game 3, but that meant someone had to sit in his place. Shawn Thornton drew the short straw, and was a healthy scratch in the game. But having Bergeron on the ice was a huge boost for the team. The looked very solid defensively, and dominated all aspects of the game tonight. The Lightning put out a very poor performance, and the Bruins came away with a great win in Tampa.

Thomas makes a great save

Thomas leads Bruins to win with shutout performance in game 3

1st Period

The game started with Bergeron getting right on the ice, centering the 2nd line. But it was the 1st line of Boston that struck. Boychuck sent the puck down the far sideboards to Lucic. He dug the puck out from the corner, and centered a pass for Kreci in front of Roloson. The puck bounced off his stick a little, but he settled it quickly. He was 1-on-1 against Roloson in the crease, and deked to sneak his backhand shot into the back of the net. Boston scored quickly, up 1-0 at 1:09. The Lightning followed that up with a great chance in the slot by Malone. He tried a wraparound attempt, but Thomas just held the near post. The Boston offense had pressure early, forcing the Lightning D to make bad plays. But off a Boston turnover, the Lightning had a couple great chances in a row to score. Thomas stopped a shot from the point, and then turned around to find the puck. The puck had actually bounced right in front of him, and Tampa picked it up. Purcell had a great chance to score, but Thomas spun back around, saw the shot, and made a terrific right leg save. Midway through the period, Boston almost put another puck in the net. Paille brought the puck up ice, and passed ahead to Campbell as he entered the attacking zone. Campbell took a shot from the far circle that Roloson stopped. The puck was not covered up though, and Roloson fell backwards as the puck went somewhere between his legs. Peverley was charging at then net, and then started jamming away when he saw the loose puck. A whistle would eventually be called, but a skirmish commenced. The Lightning players didn’t like Peverley attacking the net, and started roughing him up. Campbell came in to back him up, and after giving a shove to Gange, Gange started hitting him. After the dust cleared, Campbell and Gange would be sent to the box for offsetting roughing minors at 10:21. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Tampa had a 2-on-1 after Seidenberg was caught up ice. St.Louis was coming through the far side, with Lecavalier on the near side. As St.Louis made a pass across ice, Chara poked his stick out to break up the scoring chance. Back to 5-on-5 they skated. Off a face-off win by Boston in the attacking zone, Peverley had a chance in the near slot with an open net. His shot went wide though. Boston was bringing the puck up ice, and Kreci received a pass at the Boston bench. As he was turning around, Marc-Andre Bergeron blindsided him with his shoulder, and Kreci went down. The play would be whistled dead, and Bergeron was issued an elbowing penalty at 17:29. Kreci remained on one knee for some time, before finally going to the bench. The Boston powerplay was pathetic though, barely causing Roloson to sweat. The period would end with the Bruins up 1-0.

2nd Period

Bergeron and the 2nd line started the 2nd period, and Marchand created a chance early. He knocked the puck away from a Lightning defender, and Recchi went to the corner to get the puck. He passed back to Bergeron, who passed across ice to Marchand in the far slot. But a great move by Roloson allowed him to make the save. Kreci was back on the ice, and skating well. A very good sign for the Bruins going forward. 5:58 into the period, both teams had just 1 shot. It was a defensive period early, both teams battling hard. Boston finally got a 2nd shot off, this one from Ference at the point. Roloson made the save easy, but it was what happened after the play that was interesting. Marchand was next to Roloson, in case of a rebound. He tripped over a Lighting stick, and made incidental contact with the face of a Lightning player. He would be called for high sticking at 5:58, giving Tampa an important powerplay now. The Boston pk was terrific, denying Tampa any good looks at Thomas. The penalty ended, and the game remained 1-0 midway through the 2nd. Boston was heading up the ice, when Tampa would be called for too-many-men at 9:51. Boston was on the powerplay for the 2nd time tonight. It was pathetic again, not able to set up anything. The penalty would be cut short, when the puck bounced off of Bergeron’s stick into the neutral zone. Bergeron was forced to bump Hall to prevent a breakaway, and he would be called for interference at 11:09. They played 4-on-4 for 35 seconds, before the Lightning went on the powerplay. Stamkos had a great chance for a tip-in in the slot, but the puck went just wide. Tampa didn’t score, but they looked much better on the shortened powerplay. Boston acted quickly once Bergeron got out of the box, with Chara finding Bergeron near the Tampa blue line. He slowly skated into the attacking zone, waiting for Peverley to get up ice for a 2-on-1 chance. He passed across ice to the near slot, but Roloson made a spectacular right-to-left pad save to keep Boston off the board. Boston had another chance, as Marchand tried to wraparound the puck near post. Bergeron was attacking far post for a rebound, and was knocked down by Eric Brewer. Brewer would be called for hooking at 16:55. The Boston powerplay was very slow to start. They weren’t able to set up the offense for a minute and a half. Finally though, Boston started moving the puck well, with Seidenberg getting 2 point shots off that Roloson stopped. Boston held the puck in the attacking zone for a good 30 seconds, even after the penalty had ended. The penalty ended without a goal, and Tampa finally iced the puck. Tampa coach Guy Boucher called a time-out, to get his players some rest. Nothing else from Boston though, and the 2 teams went to the dressing rooms to end the 2nd. Boston was still up 1-0 after 2.

3rd Period

The 3rd period started nice and slow. Exactly how the Bruins wanted to play the period. Tampa finally got the offense moving after the 2 minute mark, and they pressured Thomas heavily. Good defense didn’t allow Tampa to get many shots on net though. Any shots they did get off were kept out by Thomas. The Lightning weren’t taking many great shots. They were just throwing bad angle shots on net, and then jamming away in the crease. Boston came back with 2 good rush chances. Marchand had a 1-on-1 chance, getting behind the defender, and pushing to the backhand. Roloson stood tall and made the save. The Kreci line had a 3-on-2 up ice, with Kreci coming across to the near circle. He made a centering pass to Lucic, but Roloson made the save. Tampa tried to clear the puck, but Lucic just kept the puck in the attacking zone as he went for a change. He sent the puck all the way around the boards, and it was picked up by Boston. Ference had the puck at the point, and took a shot through 2 Lightning players, and Kelly screening. The puck was almost stopped by Roloson’s pads in the butterfly. The puck slowly trickled through the pads, and beyond the goal line. Boston had taken a 2-0 lead at 8:12. Boston was in prime position now to win this game, and go up 2 games to 1. Tampa came right back with pressure, and it resulted in a penalty by Boston. Chara would get called for hooking on St. Louis at 9:49, putting Boston on a critical pk. Boston won the opening face-off back. Boychuck lost the puck though to Gange, who passed to St. Louis. He had a chance right in front of Thomas now. As he went to the backhand, Thomas made a diving poke check clearing the puck off his stick, and preventing the scoring chance. The rest of the penalty was very quiet for Tampa, and the game remained 2-0. As the game went beyond the 15:00 mark, Boston started playing conservative hockey. The Bruins were just protecting the net, collapsing on the puck, and clearing it on every shift. The Tampa offense had nothing going against the Boston D. Tampa would empty their net at the 17:51 mark with a face-off in the Boston zone. Good puck control by Tampa kept Boston from getting an empty net bid, but it would be all for not. The Boston Bruins had won game 3 behind the perfect Tim Thomas, 2-0.

Post-Game Breakdown

This is exactly the type of game the Bruins want to play against this Lightning team. They scored a quick goal by Kreci, the defense was stellar, and Tim Thomas was perfect in net. There was nothing very eye-popping about this game. It was a very systematic victory by Claude Julien. Once the Bruins scored that 1st goal, they kept up on the Lightning. They never backed down in the attacking zone, and the defenders were very aggressive in the first 2 periods. Once the 3rd period came along, Julien was very contempt to just roll the lines out there, and chip the puck in deep. This was not a spectacular game by any means, but it was a very solid effort by the Bruins. Having Bergeron back really improved this teams defense. He was terrific on face-offs, besting Lecavalier (who has killed the Bruins in games 1 and 2 at the dot) all night. This game was the first time that we really even heard Recchi and Marchand’s names. Bergeron greatly improved the performance of those 2, by setting them up and taking away the puck from Lightning players. Thomas had a good game but not great. I know he had a shutout, but he wasn’t tested all that much until the 3rd period. Thomas had 15 of his 31 saves in the 3rd period alone. Most of those shots were not good scoring chances anyways. Tampa was just taking as many shots as they could, trying to get a cheap goal or a rebound attempt. Thomas was good, and he made some spectacular saves when he needed to, but he was by no means great.

Tampa Bay just laid an egg tonight. Their offense stunk all night. They just couldn’t break through the Boston defense for good scoring chances. The defense had a couple of breakdowns, most notably during the 1st period. Kreci’s goal was a result of the man covering him, Viktor Headman, abandoning Kreci in the slot to chase Lucic and the puck. The 2nd goal was just a result on being out-hustled, and out worked for the puck. Roloson was great in net Thursday night. The 2nd goal was a soft one, and one that he’ll have next time out. The 1st goal though, was just skill and bad defense. His defensemen left him out to dry, and Kreci is one of the most talented Bruins. You could argue Roloson had a better night than Tim Thomas, and I would listen. Tampa is now in a must-win situation. If they lose game 4, on home ice, and go down 3-1, they will not win this series. The Bruins have home-ice, (even though it probably won’t matter) and are a great road team. So even if the Bruins lost game 5 at home, I think they would go into Tampa and close the game out in 6. In fact, that’s what I think will happen. Boston is the better team, and plays better on the road than at home. Look for the Bruins to win another low scoring affair in game 4, but I think Tampa staves off elimination in game 5. I said it before the series officially started, Bruins in 6, and I’m sticking by it.

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