|Bruins overcome rough start, take Game 5||05.23.11 at 10:49 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
The Bruins pulled the opposite of the first-period-only effort that cost them Game 4, and on Monday night at the TD Garden, they overcame a terrifying first 20 minutes in Game 5 to beat the Lightning, 3-1, and come within a win of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals.
With Tampa Bay leading 1-0 after dominating the first period and seeing Simon Gagne score his latest against the B’s, the Bruins got second-period goals from Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand to give Boston a 2-1 lead that they would hold until Rich Peverley made the final 3-1 on an empty-netter.
The Bruins didn’t get many shots on Tampa goalie Mike Smith (only four in the first period), but the two they did get past him proved to be enough. Boston’s 20 shots on goal stands as their lowest total this postseason.
Tim Thomas made 33 saves on the night, turning in a sensational performance that undoubtedly stands among his best this postseason. On a rather fascinating note, the team that has scored the first goal this series has now gone 2-3.
A late hit in from Steve Downie in the third period forced Johnny Boychuk down the tunnel, and he did not play in the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Bruins will have the opportunity to close out the series Wednesday night in Game 6 at St. Pete Times Forum.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– On the night, Thomas was superb. Downie was the biggest victim of Thomas’ play, as the Bruins netminder robbed him on multiple occasions. Thomas stopped Downie point-blank on a bang-bang play in the second, but made one of the best saves of his historic season in laying out to get his stick on what looked like a sure-fire game-tying goal. The Garden absolutely erupted when Thomas was shown on the big screen at the next stoppage.
– Brad Marchand finally showed up on the sheet, and not just for his dive in the second period. The 23-year-old rookie didn’t let Martin St. Louis take him out of the play him as he raced to the net to put bang home a beautiful pass from Patrice Bergeron down low. It was Marchand’s first point of the series, as he followed a six-point second round with goose-eggs and only five shots on goal in the first four games against the Lightning. Marchand’s overall performance continues to leave more to be desired, but he had flashes — such as a hard-nosed shift about five minutes into the third period — that suggest the B’s could be closer to seeing the Marchand they got to know and love over the regular season and throughout the first two rounds.
– The Bruins were beyond lucky to somehow end up winning the game, and an individual instance in which they lucked out was when Thomas barely got a piece of the puck on a great opportunity by Blair Jones early in the third. The contact Thomas could make with the puck was enough to it off send it off the post on its way away from harm. Jones was just as sure as any that he would score on the play, as he was celebrating as the puck took its new direction.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins came out looking like a team totally unaware it was in Game 5 of the conference finals. From physicality to decision-making, it was an awful first period and one that should have seen a larger Lightning lead than 1-0. The Bruins had only four shots on Smith in the first period, and aside from one strong shift late in the first by the David Krejci line, there was little to no engagement from Boston’s forwards.
– Horton ultimately redeemed himself by scoring the tying goal in the second, but his two penalties before that were, for lack of a better word, dumb. In the final minute of the first, he laid a hit on Nate Thompson in the neutral zone despite the fact that the puck was already a good 10 feet behind him. Less than a minute after leaving the box, Horton went right back in when he slashed Hedman’s stick out of his hands after missing a big hit. The Bruins want and need Horton to play with an edge, but his two penalties Monday night clearly crossed the line.
– Not a good night for Tyler Seguin. He looked lost in all zones in the first period and took an obvious tripping penalty with the B’s lifeless and trailing 6:45 into the first. The rookie was taken off the third line late in the period by Claude Julien and was replaced on the wing by Peverley. He would play more in the second period, but had a turnover on a blind pass in the offensive zone that led to a Lightning rush that was saved by Andrew Ference.
– The power play was possibly the worst it’s been all playoffs, as impossible as that might sound. The Bruins registered zero (yes, zero) shots on goal on their first three power plays. Bad entries and bad passes were once again the name of the game for Boston’s man advantage. They struggled to get the puck in deep and gain possession, and when they did, they struggled to put passes on the tape, resulting in a number of easy clears for the Lightning. It’s one thing to not score on the power play; it’s another to not even get a shot. The one good sign on the power play was that Julien finally used Zdeno Chara as a net-front presence on the team’s last power play. They even got a shot on the fourth power play.
|Bruins-Lightning Live Blog: B’s lead 2-1 in third||05.23.11 at 7:44 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petrgalia and others from TD Garden for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals. The teams enter the game tied in the series, 2-2.
|Bruins/Lightning Game 4 Live Blog||05.21.11 at 1:25 pm ET|
TAMPA — As the Bruins and Lightning square off for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals, follow along with DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and plenty others. Please bear with us, as the internet at St. Pete Times Forum is suboptimal.
|Bruins/Lightning Live Blog: B’s hold 2-0 lead in third period||05.19.11 at 8:07 pm ET|
TAMPA — Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia and a cast of others live from the St. Pete Times Forum as the Bruins and Lightning square off in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.
|Tyler Seguin lights up Lightning, Bruins tie series||05.17.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
By DJ Bean and Scott McLaughlin
It was the Tyler Seguin Show Tuesday, as the rookie had a four-point showing in a 6-5 Bruins win over the Lightning at the TD Garden that tied the Eastern Conference finals at one game apiece.
Seguin scored two goals, tying the game 48 seconds into the second period, and giving the B’s a 4-2 lead at 6:30 of the second. Michael Ryder also had two goals for the Bruins, both of which were assisted by Seguin. Nathan Horton and David Krejci also scored for the Bruins. Horton and Krejci are now tied for the team lead with six goals this postseason.
The B’s chased Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson after two periods and six goals. It was the first time this postseason that Roloson allowed more than three goals. Tampa got its scoring from Adam Hall, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore. They came back from a 6-3 deficit to make it 6-5 in the third, but in the end Tim Thomas and the Bruins held on.
The teams now travel to Tampa, where they will play Games 3 and 4 before returning to Boston next week for Game 5.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– Everyone knew Seguin had all the talent in the world, but nobody expected the type of explosion that was displayed Tuesday. The 19-year-old’s pair of flashy goals made for his second and third tallies of the series. On his first goal, he blew by a pair of Lightning defenders and beat a sprawling Roloson with a nifty forehand-backhand move. Six minutes later, just moments after Thomas stoned Ryan Malone on a breakaway, Seguin rifled a shot under the crossbar to give the B’s a 4-2 lead. He would contribute assists on a pair of Michael Ryder goals in the period (one of which game on — gasp — the power play) to cap an impressive four-point second period.
With six points in two games this postseason, Seguin now has half the points of Patrice Bergeron, who entered the game leading the team with 12 points.
– Milan Lucic has hardly been a force to be reckoned with this postseason, and after taking a Seguin shot off the right foot Monday and missing Tuesday’s skate, his impact on Game 2 was something many were keeping an eye on. Amidst all that, he came out like a man possessed. Lucic had four shots on goal in the first period, which had already made for his second-highest total of the postseason. Lucic played a big role in the team’s power play goal, screening Roloson alongside Horton, who tipped it in.
– As bad as the opening and closing seconds of it were, the Bruins absolutely dominated play in the first period. Though the Lightning got 11 shots on Tim Thomas, the puck possession swayed heavily in favor of the Bruins, whose nonstop possession in the offensive zone for two shifts without the puck leaving the zone caused Tampa coach Guy Boucher to call a timeout at 5:52 despite his team holding a 1-0 lead.
– The Bruins had two power-play goals in the entire postseason entering Tuesday night. They doubled that with a pair of tallies on the man advantage in Game 2. After Roloson stood on his head to deny the Bruins on an extended 5-on-3, Kaberle set up a Seidenberg one-timer that Horton deflected home with one second left on the 5-on-4. Then in the second period, Ryder collected a rebound off a Seguin shot and backhanded the puck past Roloson to make it 5-3. Perhaps just as important as the goals themselves was the fact that the power play looked good all game long. The Bruins got set up with relative ease, made clean passes and created one scoring chance after another.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– The Bruins dominated the vast majority of the first period, but a pair of breakdowns at each end of the frame left them trailing at the intermission. The Lightning scored just 13 seconds into the game when Lecavalier sent a shot wide and Hall beat a pair of Bruins to the left doorstep and banged home the rebound. After getting outworked for the next 19-plus minutes, the Lightning struck again with just 6.5 seconds left in the period when St. Louis beat Johnny Boychuk to the front of the net and tipped in Stamkos’ centering pass.
– As explosive as they were offensively, there is still a bit of sloppiness they need to clean up. Boychuk nearly gave the Lightning a goal in the first period by banking an intended pass off Tomas Kaberle in front of the net. The Lightning’s second goal went off Boychuk’s skate, and he looked bad on Stamkos’ goal as well. Kaberle made things dangerous for Krejci with a buddy pass when breaking out of the Bruins’ zone. The Lightning also had a pair of breakaways, though Thomas stopped them both.
|Bruins/Lightning Game 2 Live Blog: Tyler Seguin has four-points, B’s lead 6-5 in third||05.17.11 at 7:36 pm ET|
Join DJ Bean, Mike Petraglia, Rob Bradford, Joey the Fish, and a cast of others as the B’s look to even the Eastern Conference finals in Game 2 vs. the Lightning.
|Bruins drop Game 1 to Lightning||05.14.11 at 10:57 pm ET|
The Bruins put themselves in a familiar spot Saturday, as they dropped Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Lightning at home, 5-2.
The B’s lost Game 1 of the first round to the Canadiens at TD Garden before dropping Game 2 but battling back to win the series in seven games. There’s plenty of hockey left to be played, and Boston will have to hope for different results and better handling of the puck going forward.
The Lightning got their scoring out of the way with one crushing wave in the middle of the first period. Sean Bergenheim continued his league-leading scoring pace, notching his eighth goal of the postseason at 11:15, with Brett Clark beating Tim Thomas on a backhander 19 seconds later. Teddy Purcell scored off an ugly Tomas Kaberle turnover at 12:40, making it three goals for Tampa Bay in a matter of 1:25. Marc-Andre Bergeron scored the Lightning’s fourth goal on the power play at 13:37 of the third period while Simon Gagne added an empty-netter.
Tyler Seguin, playing in his first postseason game, a nifty goal at 15:59 of the first period. Chris Kelly’s tally came with 1:01 left in a game the Bruins had already lost.
Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves for the Lightning in the victory.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Two of the the goals scored by the Lightning in a matter of 85 seconds came off bad turnovers by the Bruins. With a big mess in front of Tim Thomas’ net, a stick-less Dennis Seidenberg kicked the puck right onto the stick of Sean Bergenheim, who fired the puck in for his eighth goal of the playoffs.
Yet while Seidenberg’s play certainly came in a hectic moment, the sam could not be said for the third goal. Teddy Purcell skated right in and reached behind the net to mug Kaberle and tuck the puck past Thomas. Two unassisted goals against were not what the B’s were looking for.
– Foolish move by Milan Lucic late in the game, as the 22-year-old winger clocked Victor Hedman in the face with 36.7 left in the game. He was tossed from the game, and should he face further discipline, a Bruins team that’s already missing Patrice Bergeron could be in big trouble.
– Thomas has been great this postseason, but he would definitely like to have the Lightning’s second goal back. Brett Clark carried the puck through the neutral zone and down the right wing before beating Thomas stick-side with a fluttering backhander. Soft goals are always bad, but this one was even more devastating because it came just 19 seconds after Tampa’s first goal.
After the three goals, Thomas came up big for the B’s multiple times. He absolutely robbed Steve Downie with a little more than 5:30 left in the seconds to keep it a two-goal game.
– Seemingly in an effort to get some more life out of the Bruins’ offense, Claude Julien swapped Seguin and Mark Recchi in the third period. Seguin skated with Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly, while Recchi went to the third line with Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley. Unfortunately for the Bruins, it yielded no results, and the lines reverted back to the way they began the game.
– It’s cliche at this point to list the power play as a wrong, but as long as it continues to do nothing, it’s going to be here. Normally when a team’s down by two goals, three power plays in a period would be exactly what it needs to get back in the game. Not for the Bruins, though. They didn’t even threaten on their three man advantages in the second, as they consistently struggled to enter the zone. When they did get the puck in deep, it often came right back out either due to losing puck battles or making bad passes. An example of this came when Seidenberg cycled the puck back to nobody and out of the zone. The B’s mustered only three shots in their three second-period power plays and finished the night 0-for-4.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– It was only fitting that Seguin’s first career playoff goal be of highlight-reel variety. The rookie, who scored his first goal of the season in Prague on a Hail Mary pass from Ryder before crashing into the net, made the Garden crowd go nuts with his first-period goal. Seguin took a pass from Ryder in the neutral zone and proceeded to make Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin look foolish as the rookie used fancy stickwork to go through the defenseman before sliding it past Roloson.
It was predictable that Seguin wouldn’t get big minutes, but Claude Julien took it to a bit of an extreme, even despite the rookie’s goal. Seguin would have to wait 14:56 worth of hockey before he’d get back on the ice, as his next shift did not come until 11:55 into the second period. He had only two shifts in the second period, though he threw a nice hit on Lundin in the corner on of of them, providing a small sample of physical play, an area in which he’s rarely been engaged in his rookie year.
– Not that any of the ensuing power plays led to anything, but give David Krejci for drawing a pair of Lightning infractions. The first-line center drew two different tripping calls on Tampa Bay in the second period, as both Eric Brewer and Adam Hall went off for tripping Krejci.
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