Don’t expect more ‘pond hockey’ between Bruins and Lightning for Game 3
|05.19.11 at 1:19 pm ET|
TAMPA — Steven Stamkos may only be 21 years old but he certainly can articulate like a crafty and well-versed veteran in the ways of winning playoff hockey.
He also proved Thursday morning in the hours before Game 3 at St. Pete Times Forum that he was playing close attention to what his coach was preaching and teaching during film analysis of the Game 2 loss to the Bruins Tuesday night at TD Garden.
After the game Tuesday, Guy Boucher spoke of how his team got into pond hockey and lost the race. He told his players in film study that he didn’t want that to happen again, even if it means giving up some scoring chances that came from desperate hockey in the third period.
“I don’t think for us there is a fine line,” Stamkos said. “I think that line doesn’t exist. We don’t want to play that run-and-gun pond hockey. That’s not our structure. That’s not how we’ve won games this year. At the end of the day, we had a lot of scoring chances, probably moreso that any other game we’ve played, maybe all year, but we didn’t win the game.
“When you break it down like that, that’s when you realize how much the structure means to your success as a team and how you have to stick to that and not stray away because when you do, yeah we created some chances offensively, but we gave up six goals, and that’s not acceptable.”
The Lightning also weren’t about to throw their 41-year-old goalie Dwayne Roloson under the bus after he got pulled for Mike Smith following the five-goal second period.
“We’re not worried about how Rollie’s going to play,” said Martin St. Louis. “Rollie has been our backbone all along. It’s not fair to just say he had a bad game last game because we had a lot of letdowns. We didn’t defend good enough in front of him. We gave them a lot of prime scoring chances. We’re not worried how Rollie’s going to play. He’s been there.
“We just have to keep our structure. It all comes down to our decision-making in certain areas of the ice, with the puck and without the puck. And we didn’t do a good enough job last game of that.”
The Lightning have scored 10 goals in two games. The Bruins have scored eight. These two teams were built throughout the season on goaltending and defense. In Tim Thomas, the Bruins had the leading netminder in the regular season in goals against and the all-time single-season record holder in save percentage. The Lightning have Roloson, who entered this series as the leader in goals against and save percentage in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
“It’s a pretty high-scoring two games,” said Michael Ryder, who potted two goals himself in that five-goal second-period breakout on Tuesday night. “Us and Tampa, we’re not known for that type of game. It was a little of open-gun. I think both teams want to tighten that up a little bit. When you give teams time to skate in this league, they can make plays. They have great players on their team that can put the puck in the net and the more opportunities you give them, they’re going to score on that. I think both of us are probably going to play a little tighter.
I think it’s all about the neutral zone, who’s better in the neutral zone, who takes away speed better.”