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Bruins down the Lightning 4-1 to get their 1st win of the year

The Bruins got in the win column this season, beating their Eastern Conference Finals opponent from a year ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The game wasn’t all that close, with the Bruins dominating the entire game. One bad play by the Bruins allowed the Lightning right back into the game with the Martin St. Louis breakaway goal. Besides that play, the Bruins out-shot, out-chanced, and out-played the Lightning in every way. It was a great game from the Bruins. 2nd year pros Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin have looked great in these 1st 2 games thus far. Marchand has a goal and 2 assists, and Seguin has 3 assists and is +2. These young players are making a huge impact for this team, and I look for them to continue this production throughout the year. Boston is in good shape, if they can have this type of output on a consistent basis from the team.

picture courtesy bruins.nhl.com

Bruins celebrate their 2nd goal of the night, on their way to a 4-1 win vs. the Lightning

1st Period

The game started with some physical play by both teams. The Bruins would get the advantage early, when Matt Gilroy was called for holding at 4:21. The Bruins powerplay looked dismal as usual. They couldn’t set anything up, and were back to 5-on-5 hockey. Right as the powerplay ended, Shawn Thornton set up behind the Tampa net, and found Benoit Puloit in the slot. Puliot wheeled around and got a backhand shot on net, but right into the gut of Mathieu Garon. Peverley took a bad angle shot from the far side of the net, and got the puck on goal. There was a pileup at the far side, and Marhand started mixing it up with 2 Lightning. The facewashing resulted in offsetting roughing minors for Marchand and Steve Downie at 9:13. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. The Bruins had a huge scare, as the puck was taken from the far slot, and shot intentionally wide by St. Louis. Malone had the puck with a wide open net at the near slot now. Tim Thomas dove to get back to the other side, and the puck hit the heel of his paddle. The puck sat just inches away from the goal line in the crease, but was cleared out by Kreci. The Bruins would be facing a penalty though, when Johnny Boychuk was called for slashing at 10:28. So it was 4-on-3 for 45 seconds, before the Lightning would get a 5-on-4 powerplay. Lecavialer made a cross ice pass to Stamkos, who had his one-timer stopped by Thomas. Just 1 more shot for the Lightning on the powerplay, as the Bruins had killed the penalty off. The Bruins would go on the powerplay shortly after, as Seguin was clearly tripped up by Connolly at 13:40. Boston had good puck control throughout the powerplay, but again could not get a goal. Just 1 shot on that powerplay, which tells the story. Too much passing by the Bruins man advantage, not enough shooting. Then the Lightning would go back on the powerplay. Milan Lucic was called for slashing at 16:31. As the penalty came to an end, Steve Downie decided to get into the crease, and started shoving Chara. Chara didn’t like it, so he took a swipe back. Downie then turned to the refs, as if pleading for a penalty. No call from the refs, and the Bruins would kill off another penalty. With just over 30 seconds remaining, Chris Kelly and Benoit Puloit created another chance in the slot, but a great right pad save by Garon kept Boston off the board. So they would go into the 2nd period scoreless.

2nd Period

The period started with a great chance by the 1st line for Boston, with Kreci going through center ice and Horton to the far side. Kreci’s pass to Horton though would not stay put, and it bounced off to the corner. But the Bruins would come right back with pressure from the 2nd line. Marchand again was creating chances, taking the puck through the offensive zone. He would go behind the net and around to the near circle, wheel, and fire a snap shot. The puck just hit the post though, and rebounded to the opposite side where Rich Peverley was waiting in the crease. Peverley did not miss, as he put the puck in the back of the net. Boston took the 1-0 lead 2:04 into the period. Boston would give it right back, as Malone poked the puck away from Nathan Horton as he entered the offensive zone. The puck was picked up by Lecaviler, who passed ahead to Martin St. Louis who had a breakaway now. St. Louis made a quick head fake, and beat Tin Thomas blocker side. Very quickly, this game was tied at 1 at 3:20. Boston would come back with a 2-on-1 with Peverley and Marchancd. Peverley had the pack far side, and centered a pass for Marchand. Marchand had a semi-breakaway now, but his shot went just wide. With Tampa now on its heels, Tyler Seguin created a chance, skating through the center slot, and passing back to McQuaid at the far point. McQuaid took a point shot, that apparently was tipped in front by Daniel Pialle and went into the back of the net. Boston was back on top, 2-1 at 4:58. Gregory Campbell then just missed a chance to extend the lead, as he fanned on a backhand attempt near post, and then shot a forehander over the net. The Bruins brought the puck back into the offensive zone, and Lucic made a nice move to step by Eric Brewer who stuck his leg out to knock Lucic down. Brewer would be called for tripping at 10:24. On the powerplay, Dominc Moore took the puck from the sideboards, and skated down the ice. Behind the play though, Tyler Seguin would be called for holding at 10:59. So they skated 4-on-4 for 1:25. The teams would be kept off the board, and the Lightning had 36 seconds of powerplay now. The Bruins penalty killers did a good job of keeping the puck out of their own zone. As the penalty ended, Adam McQuaid was coming up ice when he had the puck hit a linesman and Boston was ruled offsides. Dominac Moore and Brad Marchand tangled after the whistle, and both player would receive offsetting minors for roughing at 13:21. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. The Bruins would get the man advantage again shortly after though, as Brett Connolly was called for hooking on Andrew Ference at 13:40. So Boston had their 4th powerplay with which to work with. The Bruins again could not score on the powerplay, and this is already getting ridiculous. Very solid defense by the Bruins as the period went on, and it contributed to their offensive control of the puck. But a late turnover by Boston gave Tampa a 3-on-2 up ice. Stamkos took the puck at the center slot, skated forward, and passed near side to Lecavialer. Thomas dove across to make a stop, but Lecaviler made a cross ice pass instead. Johnny Boychuk made the smart play, and just took out. Boychuk would be called for tripping at 19:52. The period would come to a close, with Boston up 2-1 and having to kill off 1:52 of the Boychuk penalty.

3rd Period

The 3rd period started with a huge chance for the Bruins, with Marchand intercepting a pass at the point by Malone. Marchand had a breakaway now, deked, and just missed a backhand shot high. Tampa came back with a great chance setting up a triangle in the slot. Teddy Purcell received a cross ice pass at the near side, and had a wide open net to shoot at. But Tim Thomas showed off his athleticism, stretching all the way over to make a tremendous blocker save. The Lightning were kept off the board on the powerplay, and the Bruins offense came back down the ice. Seguin sent the puck ahead to Lucic, who came down through to the far side protecting the puck. Lucic took a bad angle shot that was stopped by Garon. The rebound came right to an open Kreci in the high slot, and he wristed one up and into the back of the net. Kreci had his 1st goal of the year after leading the postseason, and it gave the Bruins the ever important 2 goal lead. 3-1 now for Boston at 3:07 in the 3rd period.Tampa came back with a one-time opportunity from Pyatt to Hall, but Thomas made the save. The Bruins started taking control of this game, with the defense forcing turnovers and the offense controlling the puck in the attacking zone. Great puck movement by the offense, wheeling the puck around in the offensive zone. Campbell was fighting along the boards, and was able to get the puck out to the point. Seidenberg made a cross ice pass to Joe Corvo, who took a shot on net. The puck was stopped by the pads of Garon, and Shawn Thornton picked the puck up right in the slot. His backhand was sent into Garons left pad though, and Boston was kept off the board this time. Patrice Bergeron intercepted a pass back at the Boston goal-line. He brought the puck up ice, and into the offensive zone. Bergeron wheeled around in the slot, passed across ice to Marchand. The puck kicked off a skate, was picked up by Peverley, and he buried it in the back of the net. Peverley had his 2nd goal of the night, and it put Boston up 4-1 at 8:43. Tampa Bays woes would continue, as they were then called for having too many men on the ice at 10:19. The Bruins had their 5th powerplay of the night, and were looking to put this game out of reach just midway through the 3rd period. A very good-looking powerplay from Boston, getting some good looks at net. But again, no goal to speak of. They went back to 5-on-5 hockey, but not for long. Dominc Moore tried mixing it up with Nathan Horton at center ice, and both players would receive off setting minors for slashing and cross-checking respectively at 15:32. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. The Bruins had a couple breakout opportunities, but were not trying too hard to get more offense going. They were back to 5-on-5, when Tyler Seguin would be called for tripping on Steve Downie at 17:37. This penalty kill played shutdown defense, not allowing Tampa to get good opportunities. The powerplay would end with under a minute left to go in the game. The Bruins had numbers up ice, with Seguin coming out of the box for a 3-on-2. Seguin had the puck dropped off for him in the near slot, but just fanned on a snap shot. Tampa sent the puck back down they ice, but it wouldn’t matter. Boston had their 1st win of the year, beating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1.

Post-Game Breakdown

The Bruins looked great in this game, dominating the whole way save for the breakaway goal by St. Louis. Offensively, defensively, Boston controlled this game. The play by Seguin and Marchand has been tremendous thus far, and both looked exceptional in this game. The defense was shut down all night, especially the penalty kill. They kept the very dangerous Lightning powerplay off the board, going 0-5 on the night. The Bruins didn’t fair any better though, going 0-5 on the powerplay as well. The Bruins are 1-10 on the powerplay to start the season, which is not a good sign. The Bruins have the weapons to have a decent powerplay, but for some reason have not been able to put the pieces together. We’ll have to see how things progress throughout the season, but it is something the Bruins will need to fix somehow. The Bruins next game is Monday afternoon against the Colorado Avalanche, where they should easily handle the Avalanche at the TD Garden.

Bruins advance to the Stanley Cup Finals

Take a second to breathe it all in. The Boston Bruins are advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals! In a very intense game 7 at the TD Garden, the Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. This game is a classic. It had everything you look for in a game 7, and the fact that it was 1-0 just adds to the drama. Tampa is lucky though that the Bruins only scored 1 goal all night. Roloson was standing on his head all night,. The only goal scored on the night was a perfect goal, set up off a perfect breakout by Boston. Roloson never had a chance at that one. Everything else though had no chance of going in. Roloson faced 38 shots, and a lot of them were great scoring chances by Boston. Thomas was great in net as well, but not as good as Roloson looked. It just happened that the Bruins controlled the offensive flow of the game more, and that is what allowed them to win this game. So how did the Bruins get back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the 1st time since 1990?

The Prince of Whales trophy comes to Boston

The Boston Bruins pose with the Prince of Whales trophy, after defeating the Lightning in game 7, 1-0.

1st Period

Game 7 has started at the TD Garden, with both teams getting equal scoring chances early. St. Louis was just leveled by Seidenberg, possibly a sign that the Bruins have a different approach to tonight’s game. As McQuaid went behind the Boston net to pick up a dumped in puck, he lost his footing and fell. The puck was pick up by Jones, who fed it to the high slot for a one-timer by Moore. The puck was knocked down by Thomas, and it rebounded out of the slot. Boston brought the puck up ice and Campbell dumped the puck in. Clark Picked the puck up behind the Tampa net, and brought it through the far slot. He passed up ice to Marc-Andre Bergeron, who flew by the defencemen to get a great scoring chance on Thomas. He came up threw the far circle, and made a wrist shot to the near side, but Thomas kicked his leg out to make a spectacular save. The 1st lines for each team had great shifts against one-another. But both goaltenders looked great early. The 4th line for Boston was getting great energy that has not been seen this entire series, and possibly postseason. Midway through the game, we were still scoreless. This game was just fast and furious, and the Bruins had a great tempo. This is exactly the type of game Boston should have played in game 6. Tampa Bay had a huge chance to get on the board, when Ryan Malone threw a puck on net from the end boards. The puck deflected off a body in front of Thomas, and there was a battle for the puck. Tampa and Boston players piled at the Boston net, trying to get the puck. Thomas had no idea where the puck was, but just kept his head moving trying to find it. Finally the puck squirted out from the pile of bodies, and was picked up by Peverley. He skated up the centerboards, ass Tampa was now caught with men up ice. Lucic came screaming up through center ice, and Peverley hit him with a pass in stride. Lucic had a clean breakaway, but Roloson made a fantastic left pad save 5-hole. Peverley has been fantastic to start tonight’s game, and hopefully Claude gives him some more time tonight. The period would come to an end, with the game scoreless. A very intense and fast 1st period. The Bruins looked great, with their offense providing great scoring chances, their defense controlling the puck, and Thomas was terrific.

2nd Period

The 2nd period started with a denied opportunity for Boston. Bergeron had the puck at the far boards, and he centered a pass for Recchi in the slot. But good stick play by the Tampa D denied him a chance. Then the 1st line created more havoc for Tampa. Horton had a tip, off a Chara point shot, but it went right into Roloson’s chest. Tampa came back with a chance of their own, off another face-off in the Boston zone. Bergeron won the puck back, and Seidenberg tried to backhand it around the Boton net. The puck was picked off by Purcell behind the net though, and he passed to Lecavalier in front of Thomas. Thomas was looking to the near side, where the puck was originally going to be. So Lecavalier now had a wide open net to shoot at. But a great poke check by Bergeron kept him from receiving the pass, and thus Tampa off the score board. After an icing call, the puck was brought back to the Tampa Bay zone. Boston had won the puck, and was setting up along the points. Boychuk took a rocket of a shot from the point, and drilled Steven Stamkos in the high slot. He hit Stamkos right at the tip of his shield, barely missing taking off his whole nose. Stamkos immediately hit the ice, and then skated right off into the Lightning dressing room. Tampa Bay had probably the best scoring chance of the night thus far, after a point shot by Marc-Andre Bergeron. Kaberle went down to block the shot, and the puck came out to the slot. Gange picked up the puck, and flung a shot on Thomas. Thomas was just outside the top of his crease, as he went into his butterfly to make the save. Midway through the 2nd period, we were still scoreless. Stamkos was back on the ice, but with a few changes. He now had a full mask on, and a huge blood stain where his nose used to be. Boston then just missed a scoring chance by Bergeron, when he deked by Stamkos into the slot, but then lost his footing and the puck just trickled to Roloson. Kreci followed that up with another great set of moves, splitting the defense in the near slot. He got a wrist shot off that Roloson stopped, but it was what happened behind the goaltender that was interesting. Horton was charging hard towards the net, and Dominick Moore locked sticks with him, and sent Horton into the net. It looked like the refs were going to award Boston with a powerplay, but the refs made a last-minute change that took away any penalty by Moore. I have no idea what the refs were thinking, but that was a terrible non-call. Tampa Bay had a huge chance off a turnover at center ice by Boston. Downie picked the puck off, and skated into the near circle. He centered a pass for Stamkos, but great stick-work by Kaberle denied him a shot attempt. Boston came right back with their own great scoring chance, this one by Mark Recchi. Patrice Bergeron went behind the Lightning net, and forced a turnover with a body check. The puck was picked up by Marchand, who fed Recchi right in the slot for a one-timer. Roloson made a spectacular right pad save, and then another right pad save off the rebound shot by Recchi. The period came to an end, and we were still scoreless heading into the 3rd and final period of the Eastern Conference Finals. Another great period by the Bruins. They played with purpose, and had a very fast tempo. Everything they did in the 1st was carried over into the 2nd. It’s shaping up to be a very good 3rd period, Boston just needs to get 1 bounce to go their way.

3rd Period

The 3rd period began with a huge chance for the Bruins to break into the goals column. Lucic skated into the far slot, and fed a backhand across to the far slot for Kreci. His one-timer was stopped by Roloson though, and the puck rebounded out to Horton at the far post, but he just tapped it off the post and through the crease. As Boston collected the puck back, the brought it into the attacking zone. Bergeron set up along the far boards, and he made an across ice pass through 2 defenders to Marchand. Marchand made a terrific one-timer shot, but Roloson made an even more impressive save. Boston was dominating the first 5 minutes of the 3rd period, but Roloson was standing on his head in net. It looked like it was going to take some luck to win this game. Guy Boucher decided to call his timeout just before the midway point in the period, before a face-off in the Lightning zone. Whatever he said didn’t help all that much, as Lucic came in to take a face-off for David Kreci, and took a shot on net when the puck was dropped. Luckily though (or rather unluckily), Roloson was paying attention, and he made a glove save. At the 11:00 minute mark, Claude Julien decided to call his timeout before a face-off in the Boston zone. With the 1st on for Boston, they moved methodically into the attacking zone. Andre Ference had the puck at the Boston point, and he passed ahead to Kreci. Kreci entered the attacking zone. He went into the far slot, and slapped a pass to the crease. Horton was right there, and he just tipped a pass by the skate of Roloson. Boston had broken into the score column, and lead the game 1-0 at 12:27. All the Bruins had to do now was keep Tampa from having any good scoring chances, and stay out of the box for the next 7 and a half minutes, and they would be on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Tampa Bay was not helping their cause either. The Lightning had no offense going in this period particularly. Boston had another huge scoring chance as the 5 minute mark approached. The Lightning had the puck in the Boston zone. As it was passed back to the far point, Chris Kelly knocked the puck away. It was picked up by Marchand, who now had a 2-on-1 with Ryder. He skated all the way into the far slot before making a cross ice pass. Roloson made a spectacular right-to-left move though, and denied Ryder the goal with his left pad. As the game approached under 3 minutes to go, Boston was in full defense mode. Every chance the Bruins had, they just dumped the puck into the Lightning zone. Under 2 minutes to go, under a minute and a half to go, but still Roloson was in the Tampa net. Even after the announcement of 1 minute remaining in the period, Roloson was still stuck in the Lightning net. Finally with under 30 seconds to go, the Lightning net was emptied. Down to 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and finally 0.0. It was all over. For the first time since 1990, the Boston Bruins are heading to the Stanley Cup Finals. They had defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in 7 games, winning game 7, 1-0.

Post-Game Breakdown

What more can be said about game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. It was a perfect game for Boston. They played terrific all night. The Bruins most impressive stat might be the no penalties committed. Both teams went the entire game without a penalty in fact. This created a great, fast paced environment. It also allowed the Bruins to keep their specialty teams off the ice. The Bruins pk was very weak in game 6, and their powerplay has been atrocious all year. So keeping the red-hot Lightning powerplay off the ice was extremely important in the Bruins coming away with the win. Their offense was controlling the puck all night, and had dozens of scoring chances. Roloson was forced to make 37 saves on the night, while Thomas only face 24. The Bruins had many more scoring chances, and much better shots on net than Tampa. The only reason they were kept off the board so long was because of Roloson. Roloson was standing on his head all night, and is the reason Tampa Bay had a chance to win the game. The Lightning played just fine on defense, and played decent enough on offense. But they never had some of the great scoring chances that Boston had, and their offense never took control of the game like Boston’s did. Part of it was how well the Boston defense played. The 1st line for Tampa was absolutely shut down. Stamkos and St. Louis had just 1 shot a piece. The 1st line for Boston looked like it was on fire all night. They had many chances to break into the goal column, and they finally did off the stick of Nathan Horton. Horton scored his 3rd game-winning goal of the playoffs, and the Bruins improve to 8-0 when Horton scores. He is also the 1st player in NHL history to have 2 game winning game 7 goals in the same postseason. Something that I know I’ll be happy not to listen to anymore, is about Tampa and their stupid 1-3-1 system. All series all we heard about is how great the 1-3-1 is, and how would Boston be able to beat such a great scheme. Well Boston beat it in game 7, when Nathan Horton scored the game-winning goal. That play specifically beat the 1-3-1, and you can see it on the replays. It was so sweet to watch, and I will not miss listening to that crap for another 2 weeks.

So on to Vancouver we go. This will be the toughest matchup for the Bruins in this postseason. Not just because it’s the Stanley Cup Finals, but because of how good the Canucks truly are. Vancouver finished the regular season winning the Presidents’ trophy (the team with the most points at the end of the season). Vancouver was picked by many experts to win the Stanley Cup before the season even began. Vancouver was the #1 team defensively in the regular season. A Boston offense which has trouble scoring already, will be hard pressed to get goals in this series. The Boston defense will be tested as well, as the Canucks have a group of goalscorer’s on their team. Vancouver has the deadly Sedin twins. Henrik Sedin is leading the NHL postseason with 21 points, while his twin brother Daniel is tied with Nathan Horton for 3rd in playoff goals with 8. They also have Ryan Kesler, who has 18 points this postseason, and has been nominated for the Freddy Selke award (awarded to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game). And last but not least, the Canucks have a Vezina trophy finalist in their net as well. Roberto Luongo has been notorious for choking in the postseason, but he has turned things around this time. So if the Bruins want to win their 1st Stanley Cup since 1972, they are going to have to be perfect. I don’t know if I can expect that from the Bruins in 4 games in this series. I think Boston has a great chance to win, but I don’t know if they can pull it off. The Canucks appear to have too much firepower, and a great goaltender to boot. I expect the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup in 7 games. But always remember, to never count out the resilient Boston Bruins.

Bruins lose game 6, deciding game 7 on Friday

The Bruins dropped game 6 last night, 5-4. The Lightning have now forced the deciding game 7, which is to be played on Friday night at the TD Garden. This was a game that the Bruins let slip away. They played well in the 1st period, and early in the 2nd. But the Lightning held on, and eventually took a 2 goal lead in the 2nd. Boston made the game close, but made too many mistakes to come back from. Dwayne Roloson was in net for the Lightning last night. I was surprised by this move, sine Guy Boucher thought high enough of Mike Smith to play him in game 5. The truth is though, that neither goaltender has been great for Boucher. Smith had been good in relief of Roloson, but was not that great starting in game 5. Roloson had a good 1st game, but every game afterwards has been sketchy. Game 7 should be a good game, and hopefully the Bruins come out on top. So how did the Lightning force a game 7?

Lightning force game 7 after winning game 6

The Lightning celebrate 1 of their 5 goals in game 6, as they force the deciding game 7 in Boston on Friday night.

1st Period

The game is on, and the Lightning have scored. Off a face-off win in the Boston zone, Teddy Purcell snapped a shot off and into the Boston net. Tampa was up 1-0 just 36 seconds into the game. The formula for Tampa Bay was perfect. They had tons of energy, and were out-skating the Bruins early on. Boston started moving the puck into the attacking zone, but they wer unable to get any shots on net. The Lightning defense was playing very well. As Tampa was entering the Boston zone, Teddy Purcell dumped the puck in. The puck was picked up by Boychuk though, and he sent the puck up ice to Horton. Horton passed to the Tampa blue line to Lucic. Lucic skated into the high slot, and snapped a shot off and into the back of the net. Boston had tied the game at 1, 7:09 into the game. Tampa would than go on the penalty kill, after Malone tripped Bergeron at 7:36. A very important powerplay for the Bruins, as they had a great chance to take the lead. It took a little bit of time, but the Bruins got the powerplay moving. Boston was passing the puck effectively, and had a couple good shots. Nothing would get through though, and the penalty ended with the game still tied at 1. Tampa would ice the puck as the penalty ended, so Guy Boucher called his timeout to get his players some rest. The Bruins were taking the momentum of the game, and the offense was starting to dominate. Tampa would go back on the penalty kill after Eric Brewer knocked at Lucic’s skates, and tripped him down at 13:17. The powerplay looked good early, and Chara just missed a chance to give Boston the lead after he picked up a wide point shot. The puck bounced off the boards, and came right to Chara at the far slot. He jammed the puck at Roloson’s legs, but he closed up the 5-hole to keep the puck out. The penalty ended without a goal, and the game remained 1-1. But Boston kept the attack on, and would capitalize on a Tampa turnover. Paille took the puck away from Stamkos at the centerboards. He took the puck down the boards into the attacking zone. He made a spin around pass to Kreci in the high slot, and Kreci got a wrist shot off that went into the back of the net. Boston had taken the lead 2-1 at 16:30. Boston was controlling this game. Tampa had in fact gone 12:21 without a shot on net. The period would come to an end, and Boston would exit with a very important 2-1 lead.

2nd Period

The 2nd period started with a great chance for Tampa, off another face-off in the Boston zone. Bergeron won the puck back, but Boychuk turned the puck over. Tampa had a great chance in the slot now, but Thomas went on his belly to make the save. The puck came out to Stamkos, who had a wide open net to shoot at. But he shot the puck far too high, and Tampa stayed off the board. The Lighting would then go back on the penalty kill. Headman would inadvertently hit Seguin with his stick, resulting in a high sticking call at 1:52. The powerplay didn’t look as good as it had earlier, and the Bruins stayed off the board. Tampa came back with a few quick chances, but the Bruins took control of the puck right back. Tampa had taken the puck into the Boston zone, when Seidenberg would receive a cross-checking penalty at 7:39. Tampa Bay didn’t waste any time, as St. Louis would get a backhand off in the slot to score at 7:55. Tampa had tied the game at 2. Tampa Bay would go right on the penalty kill afterwards, as Eric Brewer interfered with Lucic at 8:03. The powerplay looked awful this time around, doing way to much passing and not enough shooting. Boston would go on the penalty kill not long after, as Peverley was called for interference at 11:52. Tampa Bay would take advantage again on the powerplay, as Tim Thomas just missed a puck between his blocker and armpit. Purcell had scored his 2nd of the night off a one-timer in the near slot, and given the Lightning a 3-2 lead at 13:35. Both teams were now fighting back-and-forth. Off a point shot by Tampa, the puck would sit in the Boston crease. Dennis Seidenberg went to the ice to keep the puck from going in, and covered the puck up. The play would be blown dead, but a huge scrum ensued afterwards. It would result in Andrew Ference receiving a cross-checking penalty at 19:05. Tampa didn’t score, so the period would end with carryover time on the powerplay. Tampa Bay now lead 3-2 heading into the 3rd period.

3rd Period

The 3rd period would start with 1:06 left in the Ference penalty. And the Lightning would capitalize yet again, as Stamkos got a rocket of a one-timer off from the far slot. Thomas never even saw it. Tampa was now up 4-2 just 34 seconds into the 3rd. Boston came back with good pressure from the 3rd line, and the Bruins started to control the puck. But the Tampa Bay defense was suffocating any offense by Boston. As Boston was breaking out from their own zone, Tomas Kaberle would be called for interference at 6:58. The Lighting were back on the powerplay, which was already 3-3 on the night. Tampa had a few good chances early, but the Boston pk started to show up. Tampa would end their own powerplay, when Lecavalier would be called for hooking at 8:12. So they skated 4-on-4 for 46 seconds. The 4-on-4 ended without any shots, and the Bruins had 1:14 of powerplay time. And the Bruins would finally score on the powerplay, after Nathan Horton made a terrific feed to Kreci in the near slot. Kreci made a tip-in off the pass into the net, and the game was now 4-3 at 9:46. But Tampa would come right back with a 2-on-1 with St. Louis and Downie, after Johnny Boychuk was caught pinching in the Lightning zone. St. Louis passed to Downie, who carried to the near slot. Thomas came way out of his crease to make a stop, and Downie made a pass to St. Louis in the slot. St. Louis easily put the puck in the vacated net, and Tampa had increased the lead to 5-3 at 10:15. The Bruins kept on fighting though. Lucic had the puck at the near circle, and threw the puck on Roloson. He stopped the puck 5-hole, but the puck came back out. It was jammed in by Kreci, and appeared to have gone in off a Lightning skate. Kreci had notched a hat-trick, and Boston was back to within 1, as the game was 5-4 at 13:28. Then Boston had a huge surge of energy, controlling the puck in the attacking zone. Tampa Bay had nothing going, as the Bruins offense was dominating. Boston would empty the net with 1:20 to go, as desperation had set in. Claude Julien would call his timeout with 45.9 seconds left in the game. But it would all be for not, as the Bruins would lose game 6, 5-4.

Post-Game Breakdown

This was a terrible game for the Bruins, and a very disappointing loss. Boston lost this game because of self-inflicted wounds. Tampa did not have an awfully spectacular game, they just capitalized on their chances. The fact that the Bruins only lost by 1 goal says a lot about the game. Tampa started with another quick goal, but the Bruins remained calm in their approach. Boston eventually took control of the 1st period, scoring 2 goals. The Bruins had dominated the 2nd half of the 1st period, and it looked like Boston was going to come away with an easy win. But things fell apart in the 2nd period. That’s when the Tampa powerplay got on the ice, and they destroyed the Bruins pk. Tampa scored 2 powerplay goals to take a 3-2 lead in the 2nd, and then scored an early 3rd period powerplay goal to take a 2 goal lead. Boston looked down and out, and I was just hoping that Tampa wouldn’t score anymore. Much to my surprise though, the Bruins would score off a powerplay to make the game 4-3. But Johnny Boychuk would be caught pinching in the Lightning zone seconds later, and the Lightning scored off an odd man rush. That was just the icing on the cake. The Bruins had played a good game, but the mistakes that they made had cost them 1 to many times. David Kreci would score his 3rd goal of the night to bring Boston back to within 1 with over 7 minutes to play. I had hope again, and the Bruins offense had heated up. But it was not meant to be, as the Lighting came away with the win.

Boston lost this game because of their pk, and Tim Thomas. Thomas did not have a good game at all, stopping just 21 of 26 shots. Dwayne Roloson wasn’t any better, stopping 16 of 20 shots that he faced. If Tim Thomas plays like we’re used to seeing, then Boston easily comes out of Tampa with the win, and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Boston pk, which had only allowed 2 goals before last nights game to Tampa, allowed 3 of 4 in game 6. The Bruins beat themselves up, and it was hard to watch at some points. The Bruins could have easily come away with a win in this game, and that is what is the most frustrating part. But it’s not like the Bruins haven’t done this to us before. The last time Boston was in Tampa, they blew a 3 goal lead in game 4, and lost 5-3. Now that lose was much worse than this one, but they are equally frustrating. Thankfully, Boston has 1 more game at home to clinch the series.

Game 7 should be a very good battle between both teams. I thought that the Bruins would win this series in 6 games, but hopefully I’m off by 1 game. The truth is, Boston should have already won this series. Boston has now blown 2 games in Tampa. If Boston had won game 4, then they would have clinched in game 5. And if the pk and Thomas has shown up, then Boston would have clinched last night. Boston is the better team, and has home ice advantage. The Bruins have been a terrible team at home the last 2 seasons, but they have looked better in the postseason. Boston is 6-2 at home this postseason, and is 5-3 on the road. Surprisingly enough, they have been a better home team this postseason. So I look for the Bruins to come out on top in game 7. I think that Tim Thomas will have a much better game, especially considering how competitive he is. He knows that it is his responsibility to keep those pucks out, and I fully expect him to stand on his head in game 7. The only thing that I’d be worried about is the Boston pk. Tampa Bay has a great powerplay, and part of the reason that Boston had been doing so well, is because of their ability to deny the Lightning any powerplay goals. If the Bruins can stay out of the penalty box, and their penalty killers play better, than I would have nothing to fear in game 7. I expect a low scoring game, with a maximum of 3 goals. I look for the Boston Bruins to win game 7 at home, and punch their tickets to Vancouver for the Stanley Cup Finals.

Bruins win game 5 behind stellar Thomas, look to close out series in Tampa

The Bruins have regained control of the Eastern Conference Finals, now up 3 games to 2. This following their 3-1 win in game 5 at the TD Garden. The Bruins didn’t play a great game at all. The team as a whole was terrible in the 1st period. The defense stepped up in the 2nd and 3rd period, and the offense was opportunistic. Mike Smith was in net for the Lightning, after he had stopped all 21 shots in game 4. I was very surprised, since Roloson is part of the reason they made it into the Eastern Conference Finals. Smith has looked good in his limited time in the postseason, but he had never started a game until last night. So how did the Bruins pull this one off?

Tim Thomas celebrates game 5 win

Tim Thomas provides another stellar performance, leading the Bruins to a 3-1 win in game 5

1st Period

The game is underway, and Marchand took a huge hit from Mattiaus Ohlund at center ice. Marchand went right back after him at the boards, but nothing illegal happening. The Bruins had possession in the attacking zone, when Kreci lost control of the puck after a big hit into the boards. Ference pinched in to stop the puck, but slipped down to the ice. Stamkos picked up the puck, and him and Gange had a 2-on-1 up ice now. Stamkos centered a pass from the far circle for Gange, who got a shot off through the legs of Johnny Boychuck, and into the net. Tampa had another quick lead, up 1-0 at 1:09 in the game. Tampa was 8-0 when scoring first, until the Bruins beat them in game 2 when they scored first. So this will be a tough game for the Bruins to come back in. Boston calmed the game down a bit, but looked very weak in the neutral zone. Tampa was much more physical early in the game. Boston was fighting for the puck in the attacking zone, when Lecavalier hooked down Bergeron for a penalty at 5:13. The powerplay now had a very important chance to get right back in this game. The powerplay was awful, and it ended early. Seguin would be called for tripping at . It was a dive, but also an unnecessary penalty taken by Seguin, as he smacked the skates of well after the puck was gone.  So after 38 seconds of 4-on-4, the Lightning went on the powerplay. The penalty kill for Boston was great, easily killing off the remainder of the Seguin penalty. Midway through the game, the Bruins were being outshot 6-2. Boston looked like they were going to have a good scoring chance, as Marchand tried to get a pass across ice in the attacking zone. The pass was picked off, and chipped out by Tampa. Marchand skated lazily to the puck, while Stamkos came flying down the ice after the puck. Stamkos picked the puck up, deked, and then was hammered by Ference to deny his scoring chance. He went tumbling into the net, and the play was whistled dead. Ference would receive a minor for cross-checking, and Tampa was back on the powerplay at 12:17. Tampa had control of the puck for the entire penalty, getting great chances on Thomas. Thomas was solid in net, and his defense did a good job keeping pucks away from him. Finally, with 12 seconds left in the penalty, the Bruins cleared the puck. The penalty ended, and the game was still 1-0. The Bruins had a 3-on-2 up ice with the 1st line, and Horton finally got ar Bruin shot off blocked by Smith. That was just their 3rd shot in over 15 minutes of play. The 1st line of Boston started to get them some momentum back, but it was all Lightning this period. As the Lighting were coming up ice, Nathan Horton would be called for interference at 19:09. The period ended without a goal by the Lightning, so they would have 1:09 remaining on the penalty to start the 2nd. Tampa Bay dominated the 1st period of play, getting 14 shots on net, while the Bruins only had 4. It was a slow start by the Bruins, and the will have to play much better in the 2nd and 3rd to get themselves back in this game.

2nd Period

The period started with a shortened powerplay for the Lightning. A good pk by Boston though denied any good scoring chances by Tampa. So back to 5-on-5 they went. Tampa had a great chance  after the penalty though, when Malone found Downie in the far slot for a one-time. Thomas made a great move though to stop the puck. During the next shift by the 1st line, Nathan Horton would again be called again for interference at 2:07. The Boston pk was good again, denying the Lightning any good scoring chances. The penalty ended with the game still 1-0. After the penalty ended, Boston would force a face-off in the Lightning zone. Kreci won the face-off back, and the puck was sent down the sideboards. Lucic dug the puck out, and made a terrific backhand pass to Horton in the near circle. He got a rocket of a one-timer off, and put the puck in the back of the net. Boston had tied the game 1-1 at 4:24. That was the first goal given up by Mike Smith in this series. Both teams now had the offenses rolling, and were trading chances back and forth. Down in the Boston zone, Ryan Malone would be called for interference at 6:42. But Marchand would receive a matching minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. They skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes now. Early into the 4-on-4, Tampa would be called for hooking at 7:05. Peverley was skating into the slot, and towards the far post. He was hooked by Ohlund, which denied him a chance to shot. Boston had a 4-on-3 for 1:36. Another huge powerplay for the Bruins, and one they need to score on. The 4-on-3 ended without a goal, and it became a 5-on-4 for 24 seconds. Still nothing for the Bruins, and the game remained tied at 1. Seguin almost had a chance, as a pass went just past his reach. Smith came out to play the puck, and knocked it out of Seguin’s reach. Later in the shift, Seguin flattened Stamkos in front of the net. The kid was playing with a hop in his step, and the Bruins responded with some aggressive play. Boston had the puck in the attacking zone, and Chara went behind the net to get the puck. He was hooked down by Brewer, and Boston was yet again on the powerplay at 11:40. The powerplay was stifled yet again, and that makes them 0-3 on the night. The tempo had slowed down, as we were now under 5 minutes to play. Chara came up with a takeaway in the neutral zone. He sent the puck in deep, and chased after it. Marchand grabbed the puck on the far boards, and passed up to Chara. He shuffled a pass to the far circle to Bergeron. Bergeron sent a slap pass across ice to the near slot for Marchand. He tipped the puck in off the pass, and Boston had taken the lead 2-1 at 15:56. The Lighting were playing with desperation now, just attacking Thomas relentlessly. Tampa was stacking the crease with bodies, but Thomas was solid in net to deny any scoring chances. The period would come to a close, with the Bruins surprisingly up 2-1. Boston played much better defensively, allowing just 9 shots on net by Tampa to Boston’s 8. The Bruins now just need to hold onto this game, and they would take a 3-2 series lead.

3rd Period

The 3rd period started with a good shift from the Bergeron line. But the ever quick Lightning came back with a chance off the rush. Blaire Jones received a pass in the near slot behind the Bruins defenders, and he deked to the forehand and got a shot off. The puck bounced off Thomas’s left shoulder, and hit the far post to stay out. Jones had raised his hands up as he had thought he scored, but on they played. Boston got the skates moving off a big check at the near boards by Marchand on Lecavalier. Marchand picked up the puck, and Boston had a 4-on-2 now up ice. Marchand passed from the near circle to Bergeron in the slot, and he passed to Chara at the far slot. Chara held the puck, and went around the net to try to get a scoring chance. Tampa was able to regroup though, and denied the Bruins a scoring chance. Tampa was out shooting the Bruins 7-0, 7 minutes into the 3rd period. Finally Kaberle got a shot off just past the 8 minute mark. He hit the mask of Smith, and the puck stayed out. Boston had finally enter the shot column. Tampa brought the puck up ice, and crowded the Boston net with bodies. Brewer took a shot intentionally wide to create an open chance at the near post. Steve Downie went in for the puck, caught it off the rebound from the end boards, and had a wide open net to shoot at now. Thomas though made a dive from the top of his crease to the near post, and with the toe of his paddle, stopped the puck from going in. That was the best save of the season, and possibly the most important save in the Bruins 2010-2011 season. Boston now had numbers up ice, and Chara had the puck skating into the slot. He hid the puck with his stick, and went for a backhand shot under the bar. But Smith made a fantastic glove save of his own. Back-to-back amazing saves by each goaltender kept the game 2-1 midway through the 3rd. The 1st line of Boston followed that up with more pressure, and Kreci had a great chance in the near circle. Smith made the save though, and he would cover up the puck. Tampa won the ensuing face-off back, and brought the puck up ice. Tampa dumped the puck in, and it was picked up by Boychuck behind the net. Boychuck passed up the far boards, and Downie came in from the near side. He absolutely blindsided Boychuck, sending his head into the boards as a result of whiplash. Boychuck immediately went to the dressing room, holding his head. Downie would be called for boarding, but only received a 2 minute minor at 10:54. That was complete bush league, and hopefully the league takes a look at this. The Bruins had control of the puck for most of the powerplay, but were unable to get any pucks in the back of then net. Chara finally was placed in front of the Lightning net, and the Bruins had a couple of close tip-in opportunities. They looked much better, even if they didn’t score. Hopefully Julien realizes that works, and goes to it again next powerplay. Tampa came back with tremendous pressure of their own. Thomas almost made another huge mistake behind the Boston net, similar to the 1st goal he allowed in game 4. He stopped the puck in the trapezoid, with a Bruin and Lightning player coming from each side. He looked confused on what to do, so he sent it to the closest Bruin to him. He scurried back to the net, as a Lightning player picked off the pass. Ference tripped Steve Downie behind him, as the Lightning had a quick chance in the slot. Thomas stuffed the puck, and grabbed it with his glove. Boston brought the puck back up ice, and almost scored a funny goal. A shot from the near circle hit the top of Smith’s glove, and then the top of the net. Then Horton dumped the puck into the Lightning zone as the Bruins went for a change. Smith went behind the net to play the puck, but it caromed off the endboards and went right through the crease. Another close call for Tampa, very lucky that the Bruins were making a change. Just after the 2 minute mark, Claude Julien called his time-out to talk last second strategy with his team. As Tampa was coming up ice, the puck bounced off the line judges skate. Tampa would be called for offsides, and Guy Boucher decided to take his timeout now, 18:51 into the game. Lecavalier won the puck back, but it was knocked away by Recchi. The Bruins plugged up the neutral zone, denying any clear path for the Lightning to breakout, and keeping Smith in the Tampa net. Finally the Lighting were able to settle the puck in their own zone, and came up ice as they emptied the net at the 19:15 mark. The Lightning entered the zone, but Kelly knocked down a pass at the point. It was gloved down by Peverley, who skated into the neutral zone. Peverly tried to get a shot off from center ice, but it was blocked down by Marc-Andre Bergeron. Peverley picked the puck right back up though, skated into the slot, and easily put the puck in the net for the empty net goal. Boston was up 3-1 at the 19:47 mark. The game was all but over, but Tampa kept the goalie pulled. The Lightning sent the puck in deep, and McQuaid pinned the puck against the boards. He bled the clock down, and the game would come to a close. A huge scrum ensued after the buzzer sounded, with the Lightning obviously frustrated by the outcome of the game. The Bruins held their ground though, and had won game 5, 3-1.

Post-Game Breakdown

This was a huge win for the Bruins. Boston came out slow, and allowed an early 1st period goal for the 2nd straight game at the Garden. The 1st period was an awful performance by the Bruins. The offense was invisible, getting just 4 shots on net the whole period. Boston went over a 13 minute span without a shot. The defense made just 1 crucial mistake, which resulted in the early goal. The Bruins were outshot 34-20 in the game, but still came away with the win. This shows how great Tim Thomas was, and how mediocre Mike Smith was. Smith was virtually untested all night. He faced 4 shots in the 1st, 8 shots in the 2nd (which he allowed 2 goals), and 8 shots in the 3rd. The Bruins should not have won this game, and Guy Boucher should have started Dwayne Roloson. I think Roloson would have had a better game, and the Lightning would have had a better chance to win. The reason the Bruins won this game was quite simply, Tim Thomas. Thomas was monstrous in net. He allowed the 1st shot on goal into the back of the net, and then stopped the other 33. He was virtually perfect, and his offense helped him out just enough. Thomas has now stopped 30+ pucks in every game thus far. The Lightning played a great game, had solid defense, and plenty of chances on offense. They just ran into a red-hot Tim Thomas.

On a more serious note, Johnny Boychuck exited game 5 after a blindsided hit by Steve Downie, in which Boychuck’s head whiplashed into the end glass. Boychuck hit the ice, and stayed down for a moment. Boychuck was wobbly when he stood up, and was aided by Bergeron and Ference off the ice, where he went immediately to the dressing room. He did not return. He said he was fine as he left the arena with Tomas Kaberle, and coach Julien said about the hit, “I haven’t had an opportunity to look at it, I haven’t watched the video yet. I know some people have. From what I hear, it’s not a great hit. I’ll maybe reserve my comments a bit more until after I see it.” I certainly hope the league looks at this hit, and suspends Steve Downie for 1 or 2 games.

I look for a much better game from the Bruins in game 6. They appeared to have no energy the entire night, and were very fortunate to pick up the win. Boston needs to come out with a burning fire to return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1990. I think game 6 will be a bit more high scoring, with both teams scoring 3 or 4 goals. An interesting statistic; after this win, the Bruins are now 7-0 when Nathan Horton scores, and 8-0 when Bergeron has an assist. I look for the Bruins to win game 6 Wednesday night in Tampa, and return to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Bruins blow 3 goal lead and lose game 4, 5-3

The Bruins dropped game 4 in Tampa Saturday afternoon, 5-3. This, after Boston lead in the 1st period 3-0. Mike Smith came in for Dwayn Roloson, and was perfect. He stopped all 21 shots that he faced. Boston received dome luck goals, and didn’t have any real good offensive chances all game. They will need to improve upon that, and their powerplay heading into game 5. Defensive miscues were again a big part of this game. All 3 of Boston’s goals were off of Tampa turnovers. Both teams need to improve the defense heading into game 5. So how did the Bruins blow this game?

Tampa celebrates goal

The Lightning come from behind to steal game 4, 5-3.

1st Period

The game started out slow, with no goal in the first few minutes this time. Tampa had the 1st good scoring chance, when Purcell had the puck skating through the slot. But good stick play by Marchand denied him a shot. Tampa had another great chance, when Downie brought the puck down the near boards. He sent a pass across ice to Bergenheim, but Thomas made a great move to stop the shot. Boston came back with a chance of there own. Ference took a shot from the point, and it was knocked down in the crease. Roloson was out of position to make a save, and Campbell tried jamming at the puck. But their was a couple of Lightning defenders on the ice, and they knocked the puck away before Campbell could attack. Both teams had just 3 shots on net midway thorough the game. Tampa would make another bad defensive mistake in their own zone, after Boston dumped the puck in. Headmen went behind the Lightning net, and reversed the puck towards Clark. Clark was not prepared, and the puck bounced away from him. Bergeron was pressuring the defense, and picked up the loose puck. He was right on the near post for a quick wraparound chance, but Roloson was ready and got his leg down to cover the post. Bergeron took a shot, and it ricocheted off Roloson left pad, and went through the 5-hole and across the line. Boston had taken a 1-0 lead off a gift goal at 11:47. Boston had an unintentional chance when McQuaid just chipped the puck off the far boards. The puck took a funny bounce, and came right towards Roloson. He made the save between his blocker and pad, but the puck trickled out. Roloson quickly dived on it, and froze the puck. Tampa won the ensuing face-off, and brought the puck into the neutral zone. Kelly forced a turnover in the neutral zone though, and Ryder brought the puck through the attacking zone into the near slot. He tried to get a pass across to Kelly, but it was deflected by a lightning stick. The puck flipped up and over Roloson as he was making a right-to-left move, anticipating the pass. Boston was now up 2-0 at 16:34, with both goals taking lucky bounces. Seconds later, Boston would go on the penalty kill. Steven Stamkos had skated behind the Boston net, and reversed his movement back. Seidenberg was covering him, and grabbed his stick to delay his reversal. Seidenberg would be called for high-sticking at 17:51, and the dangerous Tampa powerplay had a chance to get the Lightning back in the game. The powerplay started with a turnover at the point by Tampa. Stamkos tried to make a dee pass, but Bergeron was right in his face and took the puck away. He skated up to the near circle, and snapped a shot off through the 5-hole of Roloson. All of the sudden it was 3-0 Boston at 17:58. Roloson was pulled for Mike Smith after the goal. The pk was great for Boston, denying any good scoring chances by Tampa. Right as the period ended, Tampa had a chance jamming at the Boston net. The buzzer sounded for the end of the period, but Steve Downie started shoving Peverley. He just kept hitting him, well after the buzzer sounded. Peverley had had enough, and blew his top. He shoved Downie back, grabbed him, and a scrum ensued. Out of the scrum came Peverley and Marc-Andre Bergeron, who were now duking it out. It was a good bout, with Peverley getting in better shots. The ref broke up the fight, and they skated into the dressing rooms at the end of the period. The way the penalties shook out was like this; Peverley and Bergeron received fighting majors, Downie received a minor for roughing and a 10 minute misconduct. Boston was very opportunistic in the 1st period, and now had a big lead to work with. 3 turnovers by the Lightning, 3 goal by the Bruins, and it was 3-0 Bruins heading into the 2nd.

2nd Period

Boston opened the 2nd with a powerplay chance. The powerplay was pathetic, getting just 2 shots on net. Tampa had a chance off the rush, with Gange charging at the net and Stamkos taking a shot from the slot. The puck was blocked down by a Bruin, and Thomas and Gange bumped into each other. Gange would be called for goaltender interference at 3:52. Boston had another chance to score on the powerplay, and needed a good shift to jumpstart the powerplay. It was weak in game 3, and didn’t look any better in this game. The penalty ended without a whimper from the Bruins man-advantage. Boston would make a turnover of their own, when Tim Thomas went behind the net to play the puck. There was some confusion with Thomas and Chara, and 2 Lighting pressured the puck. Thomas left the puck to get back into the net, and Gange picked the puck up. He passed to the slot to Purcell, who deked to the backhand, and just snuck a shot by Thomas and his right pad. The game was 3-1 at 6:55.Tampa had another great chance, when Lecavalier came around the Boston net for a wraparound chance. Seguin appeared to have kicked the puck away to prevent a goal. The puck came out to Ohlund, who passed to Purcell in the far circle. There were tons of bodies in front of the net, and he roofed a shot for a goal. Lighting had struck twice in just 2:03. It was 3-2 Bruins, 7:58 into the 2nd. Then, Boston dumped the puck into the attacking zone. Marchand skated in hard, and cleaned out Stamkos. He would be called for interference at 8:17. Tampa had a huge chance to tie the game now, off of some Boston mistakes. Tampa had tons of pressure on the powerplay, but the Bruins defenders were blocking all of their shots. The tempo was up now, and Tampa had all the momentum in this game. The Lightning dumped the puck into the Boston zone. Bergenheim dug the puck out of the corner, and brought the puck into the slot. He snapped a shot off, and beat Thomas 5-hole. The game was tied at 3, 10:53 into the 2nd. The Bruins looked awful in this 2nd period of play. The defense was making mistakes left and right, and they had no offense. Tampa had complete control of the game now. The 1st line of Boston got them back into the game. The had good pressure in the attacking zone, forcing the Lightning to play back. Horton gave Downie a good shove from behind into the boards, and a penalty would be called. Downie hopped right back up, and would receive a penalty as well. Horton would be called for roughing, and Downie received a diving penalty at 17:25. So they skated 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Boychuck had a chance off a good feed by Peverley, but his one-timer was denied. Seguin had a chance off a deflected puck in the neutral zone, but Smith made a chest save off the snap shot. The period would end with no more goals, and they headed to the dressing rooms tied at 3. Terrible period from the Bruins, and they must now regroup to get the lead back, and win this game.

3rd Period

Tampa started off with more quick chances. Bergenheim had a wraparound chance, but Thomas just kicked his left leg out for the save. Malone then picked off the puck in the neutral zone, and had a 1-on-1 in the Boston zone. He deked to the backhand, but Thomas dove across the crease, and his stick poked the puck away. Tampa Bay started the 3rd period with 6 shots in the first 5 minutes. The Bruins meanwhile had none. Tampa would capitalize on a Bruins turnover. Lucic gave the puck up to Ryan Malone. He skated into the near circle, and centered a pass for Simon Gange. He put the puck through the 5-hole, and Tampa was up 4-3 now at the 6:54 mark. The Boston offense started to come alive, getting a couple of shots on Smith. Midway through the 3rd, Boston was being outshot 9-3. Tampa almost scored another goal, when after Thomas made a blocker save, the puck bounced out to the slot. Luckily, the puck deflected off a Bruin skate, and the danger was averted. Boston almost capitalized off a turnover by Smith. He went behind the net to play the puck, and tossed it up the sideboards. Marchand picked the puck off, and threw a shot on net. But Smith stuffed the puck, and the game remained 4-3. The Boston offense started to pick up finally, as the game was under 5 minutes to play. Off a Tampa ice, Boucher called his time-out to settle his team down. Horton had a terrific deflection off a Ference point shot, but Smith somehow made the stop with his right pad and blocker at the near post. Boston would empty the net at 18:45, now in desperation mode. And the Lightning would capitalize, with St. Louis burying the empty netter at 19:53. The game was all but over now, 5-3. The final horn sounded, and the Lighting had come from behind to take game 4, 5-3.

Post-Game Breakdown

Terrible ending to this game by the Bruins. Boston played a good game, but not great. All 3 of their goals were gifts. 3 bad turnovers by Tampa, and Bergeron’s 2nd goal should have been stopped. This game came down to the mistakes that each team made, rather than their successes. The Bruins had an atrocious 2nd period, especially defensively. Losing a 3 goal lead is inexcusable. Thomas had a rough few minutes in the 2nd as well, but played great besides that. A few soft goals allowed was his downfall. The offense for Boston was invisible once Mike Smith came into net. He was perfect for the 2+ periods he was in net, stopping all 21 shots he faced. The Bruins need to get their powerplay moving again, as they had a couple of chances to put the game away early in the 2nd. They allowed the Lightning right back into this game because of their ineptitude. Boston is going to have to make some serious adjustments heading into game 5.

Very tough loss for the B’s, and hopefully they can put this one behind them. The Bruins need to come out strong at home in game 5. A win would be a huge boost for the Bruins. But, I feel that the Bruins are a much better team on the road, so I would still feel confident that they would force a game 7 if they lost game 5. I do think though that the Bruins will win this series in 6. I thought they’d win this game, and lose game 5. Well, let’s hope that gets reversed, and the Bruins can now win game 5 and 6 to end the series. I think the Bruins could do it, but it seems unlikely. Look for Boston to win game 5, and I expect it to be much closer than this game was. Both teams need to improve their defense heading into game 5 though. Tampa will give a good fight, and if the Bruins are not prepared, they will lose it.

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.

Bruins win slugfest in game 2, head to Tampa tied at 1

A very exciting game 2 leads us to an even series now. Boston took game 2, 6-5. It looked like they were going to run away with this one, scoring 5 goals on 9 shots in the 2nd period. But the Lightning fought back, and had a couple bounces go their way. But the Bruins hung on to win 6-5. Bergeron practiced with the team prior to game 2, but he was still out for the game. Look for him to play in game 3 though, and that will create an interesting debate about the starting lineup. There’s no way he can take Seguin out. The kid had 4 points in game 2, and now has 6 points in his first 2 playoff games. Just incredible. The Lightning didn’t have a great game, but they kept grinding away, and never lost hope. The Bruins better learn from this, and step on their neck the next time they are in this position. On to the game that was!

Tyler Seguin breakaway goal, 2nd period in game 2

Tyler Seguin nets his 1st of 2 goals on the evening, on his way to 4 points, leading Boston to a 6-5 win in game 2

1st Period

The game is on, and the Lightning have scored. The theme continues for Boston. A shot from the far circle went wide, but it took a good bounce for Tampa. The puck was picked up by Hall, as Thomas was still looking around for the puck. He easily put it in the back of the net, and Tampa was up 1-0, just 13 seconds into the game. This is the 4th time in 13 postseason games they have allowed a goal within the first 30 seconds of the game. Tampa is 8-0 when scoring first, so this will be an uphill battle for the Bruins. Boston came back hard, getting their legs under them early. As the Bruins rushed in and got in a shot from the point, Roloson made the save. Ference sprayed Roloson with some snow, and Headmen didn’t like that. After a little push from another Lightning player, Headmen came in and cleaned him out. Both players would receive matching minors for roughing, and they played 4-on-4 for 2 minutes. Peverley had a chance late in the 4-on-4, drawing the puck into the slot. He skated right in front of Roloson, but the defense clamped down on him, and he couldn’t get the shot off. The Bruins had incredible pressure once the penalties ended. Boston held the attacking zone for a good minute or 2. Absolutely incredible shift by the 1st line. Tampa finally iced the puck, and the Lightning coach Boucher called his timeout to regroup the players. The Lightning cleared the puck out of their zone, but Boston came up with the puck. Seidenberg had the puck, and passed across ice. Malone came flying in with his elbow, and hit Seidenberg, luckily, with his shoulder. Boston would go on the powerplay for elbowing at 6:32. The Boston powerplay was weak again. Kelly had a chance late, but Roloson made a stick save. The game remained 1-0 midway through the 1st period. The 1st line got the Boston offense moving again, but no goal yet. Tampa dumped the puck in the Boston zone, and McQuaid would take it up ice. McQuaid came screaming trough the attacking zone, and fired a shot just wide of the net. Recchi who was trailing, was knocked over by Malone as he went towards the end boards for the loose puck. Boston would go back on the powerplay for interference at 11:20. The powerplay was moving the puck very well early, but Roloson looked equally as good in net. Kreci passed to Horton behind the net, and he found Lucic in the slot for a one-timer. But Roloson made an incredible save, and froze the puck. After the play ended, Hall hit Seidenberg, and he would receive a roughing penalty at 11:59. It was now 5-on-3 for the Bruins. The powerplay looked incredible, just attacking relentlessly. But Roloson was just too good, keeping the Bruins off the board. The 5-on-3 ended, but Boston still had 35 seconds left on the 2nd penalty. The Boston forecheck was relentless, and they had bodies in front of Roloson all powerplay. Seidenberg set up a shot at the point, but it was blocked down. The puck came right to Seidenberg, who passed to Kaberle and then back to Seidenberg for another one-timer. His shot went to the left of Roloson, and was deflected by Horton. Finally, the Bruins had broken through the seal, and scored with 1 second left on the penalty. Boston made these 2 powerplays count, and had tied the game 1-1 at 13:58. The Bruins had clamped down on defense, allowing just 2 shots by the Lightning after the 3:06 mark. As the Bruins were bringing the puck into the attacking zone, Horton ran over More. This resulted in an interference call at 17:16, and the Lightning went on the powerplay. An incredible shift from Daniel Paille, resulted in a shorthanded bid for the Bruins. Kelly got a bad angle shot off, but Roloson made the save. Paille appeared to have taken off 20-30 seconds of the penalty by clogging up the neutral zone by himself. The Lightning had a good chance by Teddy Purcell coming through the high slot. Thomas barely made the save, and the Bruins were able to block the net, and cover the puck up to get a whistle. There was a small scrum afterwards, which Steve Downie decided to attack Chara. Downie took a shot a Chara, trying to get some sort of retaliation. The 2 would receive offsetting minors, roughing for Downie, and unsportsmanlike for Chara. I don’t know why Chara got 2 minutes, but they were off the ice. Because of the previous Boston penalty, it remained 5-on-4 for Tampa. Although, the Lightning did nothing with the rest of their powerplay, so they skated 5-on-5. At the end of the period, Stamkos came storming into the Boston zone, with St. Louis on his left. Stamkos went to the far circle, and spun around a backhand shot towards the net. The puck was deflected by St. Louis, and bounced off Johnny Boychuck into the net. Tampa had taken a 2-1 lead with just 7 seconds left in the period. So, the 1st period ended with the Bruins down, 2-1. This felt like a period the Bruins dominated, and it is very unfortunate for them to exit the period down a goal. They have to stay positive, and come out ready to play in the 2nd.

2nd Period

The Lightning started with a quick chance by St. Louis off a long pass, but Thomas made a hoping blocker save. Tyler Seguin decided to take the game into his own hands, again. Seguin took the puck through center ice off a pass from Ryder, and split the defense at the point with some nice dekes. It was now a breakaway for they rookie, as he deked to the backhand and scored. What a play by the youngster, and he is looking like a real gem this series. Boston had tied the game 2-2, just 46 seconds into the 2nd period. The crowd was alive, and the Bruins were feeling it now. The 2nd line followed that up with a great shift, keeping the Lightning on their heels. The 1st line followed that up with an incredible shift of their own. Horton brought the puck into the attacking zone, and through the near circle. He centered a pass to Kreci in the high slot. You could see him slow the game down, and he made a pass to the far circle to Seidenberg. He dragged the puck around the circle, and passed into the slot to Kreci for a tip-in goal at 2:24. Boston had quickly asserted themselves, and taken the lead 3-2. The Bruins played very well in the 1st, and deserved to end the period with the lead. They didn’t get discouraged though, and kept the tempo up to start the 2nd. The Bruins look great in this game, doing everything fast and effective. Off a face-off win by Boston, the puck was picked off by Tampa. Ryan Malone skated behind the defense, and had a breakaway chance now. But an incredible save by Thomas with the right pad kept the Lightning off the board. Boston now had numbers of their own, as Horton and Seguin were in a 2-on-1 situation. Horton took the puck into the attacking zone, and passed across ice to Seguin. Seguin took the puck into the far slot, and got a wrist shot off high glove side and scored again. Boston was up 4-2 at 6:30, and they looked like a juggernaut in this game. Tampa stayed in the game, just gutting through this period. Off a face-off in the Boston zone, the Bruins tried to clear the puck. It was knocked down, and a shot was taken from the point. There was a pileup for the puck, and Recchi cleaned out a Tampa player. He would be called for cross-checking at 7:29. The Lightning had a great chance to get back in the game now, back on the powerplay. Tampa won the face-off back, and Lecavalier had the puck at the point. He feint a shot as he skated closer to the near circle, and then took his shot. The puck bounced off Thomas’s left pad, and went right through the 5-hole. Tampa had closed the gap to 4-3 at 7:48. Suddenly, Tampa was right back in this game. Tampa would go back on the powerplay after Chara was called for tripping on Stamkos at 10:18. The penalty-kill was much better for Boston this time around, allowing just 1 shot on net. The penalty was killed off, and the game remained 4-3. It was a crucial penalty kill, but the Lightning had the momentum now. Tampa had a 2-on-1 chance with Stamkos, but great stick work by Boychuck deflected his centering pass away. As Boston entered the attacking zone, Lecavailer would get called for hooking Brad Marchand at 15:04. Boston was back on the powerplay, but it was slow to start. With under a minute left, Kaberle set up the umbrella for Boston. He passed to the near circle to Seguin, who let a one-timer go. The puck was blocked by Roloson, but Ryder was in front of the net for a rebound attempt. He made it count, as he roofed a backhand into the net. Boston had taken a 5-3 lead at 16:16. Lecavailer givith, and Lecavailer taketh away! The Bruins were playing very aggressive now, and it almost cost them. Gange received a pass just in between the Bruins defenders, and he had a semi breakaway. With good back pressure from the D, Gange was forced to get a backhand shot off, and it went wide. Boston kept the pedal to the metal though, and Seguin again forced another play. Seguin stopped a clear by the Lightning, and made a behind-the-back centering pass to Kelly.  His shot was stopped by Roloson, but a juicy rebound was found by Ryder again. He got a shot off skating through the slot, and into the back of the net. Boston was up 6-3 with just 19 seconds left in the 2nd period. The period finally ended, and Boston had scored 5 goals on Dwayne Roloson to take a 6-3 lead. Roloson had stood on his head in the 1st period, but the Bruins found a chink in the armor. Thomas hadn’t been great, but he had made some spectacular saves to keep the Bruins in the game. The key catalyst to the period was quite obvious. Tyler Seguin looked like a true pro, scoring 4 points in the 2nd period. The Bruins just needed to play smart hockey in the 3rd, and they would shut the door on this game.

3rd Period

Mike Smith switched in net for the Lightning to start the 3rd period. As the period started, a giveaway by Ference nearly resulted in a goal by the Lightning. Then as the Bruins brought the puck into the attacking zone, Tampa was called for interference. Dominik Moore knocked into a Bruin at the bench area, resulting in the penalty just 32 seconds into the 3rd. Nothing happening though on this powerplay, and the game remained 6-3. Hall had a takeaway in the neutral zone, and passed ahead to Stamkos. Stamkos just fired a bullet from high in the near slot, and scored under the bar blocker side. The lead was cut into, now 6-4 at 3:47. Tampa was controlling the puck early in the period, and Boston just seemed to allow it. The Bruins were not playing for offense, and they seemed content to just collapse around the puck. Stamkos had another chance in the slot, after Gange came up with a takeaway in the neutral zone. Thomas was strong on the ice, and kept the puck out. Another turnover in the Boston zone by the Bruins defense, and Tampa had a great scoring chance in the slot. Lecavalier and St. Louis worked a give and go in the far slot, but Thomas somehow made an extension with his right leg, and made the save. As the Bruins brought the puck up ice, the play would be blown dead. Nathan Horton would be called for elbowing at 10:07, and the Bruins faced a critical penalty-kill in this game, and series. Tampa just held the puck in the Boston zone, getting tons of shots on Thomas. Then Johnny Boychuck lost his stick with 30 seconds left in the penalty. Kreci tried to get him his stick, but it was dropped in transition, and Kreci picked it back up. That paid off actually, as Kreci stole a pass from Downie and cleared the puck. Boston killed off the penalty, and Claude Julien called a time-out to regroup his team. Things got very worse though, after a point shot from Headmen hit the far post, and then bounced across to the near post. The puck bounced to the far side of the net. The Lightning pounced on the puck, and Thomas lost his helmet when McQuaid inadvertently fell on him. No whistle was called, and the Lightning put the puck in the net. Thomas came up bleeding a bit above his left eye, and the puck actually bounced off him into the net. Just horrible officiating, and the game was now 6-5 at 13:15. Tampa came back with a rush attempt, and Ryan Malone crashed into Thomas after he made a save. Boston would go on the powerplay for goalie interference at 13:36. The powerplay was sad though, and the game remained 6-5. Tampa came with another big rush attempt. A shot was taken from the far circle that Thomas stopped, but the puck bounced right to Lecavalier with an open net now. Ryder clamped down on Lecavalier though, denying him a shot. Thomas dove across in an attempt to bock the shot, and now found himself on the ice, with his pads stacked. The puck was all alone in the near circle, and Marc-Andre Bergeron picked it up. He got a snap shot off on the sideways Thomas, but he stretched his glove arm up, and knocked the puck down. Thomas covered up the puck, and it was still 6-5. Tampa was attacking furiously now, as the game was under 2 minutes to play. Tampa emptied the net with a minute and a half left. After a blocked shot, Horton and Lucic were coming up ice in a 2-on-1. Horton passed across to Lucic at the near point. The Lightning defender hit the ice, and Lucic’s shot went wide. Tampa brought the puck back into the Boston zone, and had 30 seconds now to score. But it would not be enough, and the Bruins had won game 2, 6-5.

Post-Game Breakdown

What an exciting game in Boston tonight. The Bruins dominated most of the 1st period, and all of the 2nd. The 3rd though, not so much. Let’s break it down, period by period. Boston allowed a goal 13 seconds into the game, and with 7 seconds left in the period. But all that time in between, they dominated. Boston had held the Lightning to 2 shots within a 15 minute span at one point. Lucic just missed cashing twice on the powerplay, but Horton eventually got a deflection goal. Boston had worked so hard for that 1st goal, especially with how good Roloson played in the 1st. He stopped 17 of 18 shots. That last second goal though, was very deflating. But, give the Bruins credit. They came guns a blazing in the 2nd period. That was all thanks to Tyler Seguin. The kid looked amazing, netting 2 goals on 3 shots, and adding 2 assists in the period alone. He helped the powerplay greatly, and injected life into the crowd, and bench. You could see his energy rubbing off on his teammates. With Bergeron most likely coming back for game 3 on Thursday night, Claude will now have some questions to face. He has to keep Seguin in, so who will he scratch for Bergeron? I think he should scratch Paille. Paille is only useful on the pk, and is replaceable on the 4th line. Claude should move Peverley to the 3rd line, and Kelly to the 4th line, and that would put Bergeron back on the 2nd line. Bregeron is desperately needed on the 2nd line, as Marchand and Recchi have been invisible in these 2 Lightning games. The 3rd period is what scared me in this game

Boston just sat back in the 3rd, and let Tampa right back into the game. The defense was very shaky in the 3rd, turning the puck over numerous times. Tampa had a couple breakaways, but Thomas stopped every one of them. The offense was not given any chances really, as they were too focused on not blowing this game away. That is a big problem. Claude needed to have them in attack mode once Tampa started to get some momentum back. They need to be focused on winning, instead of not losing. But great play by the defense late, allowed the bruins to escape with a 6-5 win. This was a game decided by 1 period. If Seguin didn’t get things rolling in the 2nd period for the Bruins, they easily could have lost this game.

Thomas was good, but not great in game 2. There were 2 goals that he could do nothing about. Those being the one that bounced off of Boychuck, and the one that hit Thomas in the face. That play should have been blown dead anyways, and I don’t think the puck didn’t appear to cross the line when it hit the posts. So I don’t think that goal should have counted. So if you take those 2 goals away, and Tampa only had 3 goals. And the Lecavalier powerplay goal was a softy. I expect Thomas to make that save next time he’s in that situation. Thomas will be better in game 3, but what about his counterpart? Roloson was outstanding in the 1st period, but was horrible in the 2nd. Roloson stopped 17 of 18 shots in the 1st, but only 4 of 9 in the 2nd. Look for both goaltenders to have a bounce-back game in game 3, and I expect a very low scoring game. Boston is a great team on the road, so I expect them to at least split the series in Tampa. But, I think it is more likely that they will win both games in Tampa. I expect Boston to win game 3, and take the lead in this series.