Tuukka Rask, Bruins blank Lightning to lock up home ice in first round
|04.25.13 at 10:05 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask made all the timely saves a coach could ask for as the Bruins clinched home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Lightning at home on Thursday.
Rask earned his fifth shutout of the season, tying a career high set in the 2009-10 season. Dennis Seidenberg chipped in with his third goal of the year, a slap shot through traffic from the point, and while the Bruins didn’t have a particularly inspiring start to the game, they finished strong, holding off a late Lightning onslaught for the win.
Here’s a look at what went right and wrong for the Bruins on Thursday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
– Rask was sharp from the start and ultimately made 30 saves. Perhaps his most memorable stop came in the second, when he robbed Steven Stamkos on an odd-man rush for the Lightning, sliding across the crease to snatch Stamkos’ wrister out of the air. Shortly afterward, he drew chants of his name from the Garden crowd when he made two impressive kick saves in rapid succession.
Late in the third, with the Bruins maintaining a 2-0 lead, Rask shut down another Lightning rush, stopping Tampa leading scorer Martin St. Louis.
Rask also kept the Bruins in the game when they were being outshot and outworked early in the first period, stopping a number of quality chances from close range. He effectively put his brief but unspectacular outing in Philadelphia, in which he allowed three goals on 13 shots in relief of Anton Khudobin, behind him.
– A spirited night of work paid off for the Bruins’ fourth line when Daniel Paille scored his 10th goal of the season to make it 2-0. Gregory Campbell found him open on top of the right circle with a perfectly placed pass – something that was rare for both teams on Thursday – and Paille fired it home.
– Third-period leads haven’t always been safe in the Bruins’ hands this year, but they saved some energy for the final frame on Friday, looking like a faster team at the end of the game than the beginning.
They had their highest shot total (12) in that period, and also played steadier defense, quickly clearing pucks away from Rask if he left rebounds in the slot.
WHAT WENT WRONG
– The Bruins’ four shots in the first period are a fairly accurate representation of the way they played that period. The turnover issues that have plagued them recently were rampant, and captain Zdeno Chara in particular made several miscues that could have cost them.
Their passing remained erratic as the game wore on, but Rask’s play and a number of similar errors by the Lightning prevented those issues from hurting the Bruins much.
– It may have made their shooting percentage look great, but the fact that the Bruins had just 12 shots through the first 46 minutes of Thursday’s game, against a defensively weak Lightning team, is cause for concern.
Tampa Bay has given up an average of 30.3 shots against this year, putting them in the bottom 10 in the league in that category. The Bruins could have done more to challenge their blueliners and goalie Anders Lindback, who entered the game with a .903 save percentage.