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Lightning end seven-game losing streak, beat sloppy Bruins 01.17.12 at 10:09 pm ET
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The Bruins were just sluggish and sloppy enough for the Lightning to end their seven-game losing streak, as Tampa Bay defeated the B’s, 5-3, Tuesday night.

Nathan Horton had two goals, but his contributions weren’t enough to make up for another off-night for the Bruins.

The Lightning took the lead when Vincent Lecavalier sent a loose puck past Tim Thomas at 7:11 of the first period. Horton tied the game at 4:28 of the second, but Tom Pyatt gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead before Horton tied it once more. The Lightning then regained the lead on Ryan Malone‘s 10th goal of the season, but Daniel Paille scored on a shorthanded breakaway to make it 3-3 in the third period. Dominic Moore gave the Lightning the lead for good with 3:45 remaining in the game. Steven Stamkos added an empty-netter.

The Bruins now have lost two of their last three games. They will play again Thursday in New Jersey before returning home to face the Rangers.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS

– The B’s slept through the first period, as they managed only two shots on goal during 5-on-5 play. They added four shots on two power plays, but it was a rough first 20 minutes the B’s.

– It looked like more of the 2009-10 Tim Thomas for the Bruins on Tuesday. Thomas is known for his unorthodox, aggressive style, and it bit the Bruins in the rear when he got a little too aggressive on Pyatt’s second goal. Thomas dove out to stop Steve Downie, and Pyatt was able to poke the puck into the net. That wasn’t the lone instance in which Thomas looked shaky, but with Thomas’ style of play he will occasionally have a night like Tuesday. The fact that these games have come so infrequently perfectly illustrates how impressive Thomas’ last 16 months have been.

– The Bruins officially can’t complain about other players diving for the rest of the season after Tyler Seguin reinvented the move on a Stamkos hook. The play occurred midway through the period, so it cost the B’s a power play in which they could have taken the lead. Given that Moore scored the game-winner after the penalties, the game could have been much different.

– While David Krejci‘s line was on the ice for both of the Bruins’ goals, it was also on the ice for Tampa’s first three goals, giving Krejci, Horton and Milan Lucic all minus-1 ratings on the night.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

Claude Julien called out Horton after Monday night’s game, telling reporters the right winger needed to pick his game up. Once again, Julien’s words paid off. Horton, who had three shots on goal over the previous three games, had four shots on goal through the first two periods Tuesday and added his 15th and 16th goals of the year. If Horton can avoid the slumps and lethargic stretches he’s been prone to, he could put up 30 goals this season. He should be a safe bet to surpass his total of 26 from last season.

– Good to see Paille with some strong finishing skills, as his back-hander past Mathieu Garon came on his second shorthanded breakaway of the night.

Earlier in the period, Paille took the puck from Eric Brewer at the blue line to give himself a shorthanded breakaway, but his wrist shot was blocked by Garon before going off the post.

Read More: Dominic Moore, Nathan Horton, Tim Thomas, Vincent Lecavalier
Bruins can’t close out Lightning despite David Krejci hat trick 05.25.11 at 10:46 pm ET
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TAMPA — The Bruins and Lightning are heading back to Boston to decide the Eastern Conference finals, as a hat trick from David Krejci was not enough to propel the B’s into the Stanley Cup Finals — instead, it was a 5-4 loss in Game 6 Wednesday night.

After the Bruins erased an early 1-0 Bolts lead with goals from Milan Lucic and Krejci. Tampa would come back with three unanswered goals before a back-and-forth third period left the B’s down by one following Krejci’s third goal.

Teddy Purcell did most of the Lightning’s damage to Tim Thomas, opening the scoring just 36 into the contest and giving Tampa a 3-2 lead 13:35 into the second period. Purcell now has six goals this postseason, three of which have come this round.

Thomas made 21 saves for the Bruins, while Dwayne Roloson stopped 15 of the Bruins’ 19 shots.

Game 7 will be played at TD Garden on Friday.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR BRUINS

- Another goal allowed very early for the Bruins. Krejci was set to take the face-off against Vincent Lecavalier and was tossed from the dot, allowing Lecavalier to go against Chris Kelly. The Tampa center won it cleanly, allowing for Purcell to blast one past Thomas. It was the Lightning’s second goal in the first minute of a game this series, and third goal in the first 1:09. Amazingly, it was the only game in the aforementioned three that the Lightning won.

- Yes, Eric Furlatt was officiating and the Lightning were penalized more than the B’s, but it was Tampa that won out when it came to actually capitalizing. The Bruins’ power play looked improved with Zdeno Chara in front, and Krejci scored his second of the game with the B’s on the man advantage in the third, but the Lightning went 3-for-4 as opposed to Boston’s 1-for-5.

- Once again, the Bruins simply couldn’t build momentum at St. Pete Times Forum. After blowing a 3-0 lead in Game 4, the B’s blew a 2-1 lead in the second and got no boost from Krejci’s goal that brought them within one in the third. Martin St. Louis scored 29 seconds after Krejci’s tally.

- Taking an interference penalty with 13:02 remaining in a game in which your team is trying to make a two-goal comeback probably isn’t what you want to do if you’re Tomas Kaberle. The polarizing defenseman did just that in the corner on a play that left Ryan Malone bloodied. Kaberle actually had a good night defensively, but the penalty won’t help his reputation around Boston as a bust of an acquisition.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS

- Krejci’s hat trick gives him five goals in six Eastern Conference finals games. The dominance from the second round hasn’t been there, but the numbers have been.

- Say what you want about Lucic disappearing this postseason, but he always smells blood when his team has a chance of ending a series. Lucic had a pair of tallies in Game 4 against the Flyers in the second round last year, and had three goals in Games 6 and 7 combined against Philly last year. Taking Games 6 and 7 against the Habs this year into consideration, Lucic now has 6 goals in the last six games in which the Bruins could eliminate an opponent.

- Dennis Seidenberg had a big play for the Bruins on a play in which the Lightning could have made it 4-2 late in the second. A Marc-Andre Bergeron shot yielded a rebound that Steven Stamkos tapped toward the net with Thomas out of position. Seidenberg literally put his foot down, stepping in front of the puck before it could hurt the B’s and starting a circus that landed Andrew Ference in the box for cross-checking Stamkos. The Lightning would score on the power play early in the second period on a goal from Stamkos, thus making the transaction a wash.

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Andrew Ference, Chris Kelly, David Krejci
Unlike fans, Bruins and Lightning aren’t thrilled with 11-goal game 05.18.11 at 1:49 am ET
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Savor the 11-goal thriller while you can, because it’€™s probably not going to happen again. The Bruins and Lightning entered this series as the top two defensive teams in the postseason. High-scoring games like Tuesday night’€™s Game 2 are not their preference.

‘€œTo be honest with you, it was a pond game tonight,’€ Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. ‘€œWhen you play a pond hockey game, there is a chance that it won’€™t turn your way. It’€™s your breakaway, it’€™s my breakaway. It’€™s your 2-on-1, it’€™s my 2-on-1. It might be exciting for the fans, but from the teams’€™ perspective and standpoint, it’€™s not how we have played.’€

The Bruins were obviously happy to get the win, but coach Claude Julien acknowledged that he wasn’€™t particularly thrilled with how wide-open the game was, either.

‘€œNot the way it opened up to the point that there were breakaways,’€ Julien said. ‘€œWhen two teams start the series and they are two of the best defensive teams in the playoffs, and then you see a game like this, I don’€™t think anybody’€™s happy. We want to score goals, there’€™s no doubt there, but the way we’€™ve been giving up goals is not something that we’€™re proud of right now.’€

The Lightning players said the anomaly of a game was due in part to a breakdown of their defense-first structure. Forward Vincent Lecavalier said the Bruins did a good job using their speed to exploit those breakdowns.

‘€œWe didn’€™t play the way we usually do with our structure,’€ Lecavalier said. ‘€œI don’€™t want to take credit away from the Bruins. I thought they came out flying in the first and second. ‘€¦ Giving up five goals in that second period was tough. It seems every time we had a good chance, it would just come back. I think we just gave them a lot in the second, but they were skating. They were playing hard.’€

Now the focus for both teams in the lead-up to Thursday’€™s Game 3 will be to get back to playing the type of defense that got them here, and to not allow as many odd-man rushes and quality scoring chances as they did Tuesday.

‘€œReally for both teams it was a strange game,’€ said Bruins forward Mark Recchi. ‘€œI expect it to be much different when we both go back down there, to be the style we both usually play. It will be hard, another close one coming up, so we have a lot of work to do.’€

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Claude Julien, Guy Boucher, Mark Recchi
Lightning coach Guy Boucher: Tim Thomas is in ‘everybody’s head’ 05.13.11 at 8:49 pm ET
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Tim Thomas dominated the Tampa Bay Lightning during the regular season much in the same way he dominated the rest of the NHL. So, maybe nobody should’ve been shocked when their head coach admitted Friday that the Bruins goalie is in their heads.

Thomas was a perfect 3-0-0 this season against the Lightning, with 1.67 goal against, allowing just five goals in the three games.

“Well, I’m sure we’re no different than any other team or any other coaches,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said Friday. “We do study the other goaltender. I’m sure they studied ours. There’s tendencies and things you want to focus on.

“But I think the players play the game, everything is done in fractions of seconds. It’s quite difficult to all of a sudden change their ways. We do want to focus on a few things. But the reality is, whatever we plan against Tim Thomas, he’s probably going to find a way to counter that. I think you want to watch out and not focus too much on the other team’s goaltender.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Martin St. Louis, NHL
Don Cherry on D&C: ‘This is going to be a battle of goaltenders’ at 9:00 am ET
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Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Stanley Cup playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bruins picked things up offensively in the series sweep of the Flyers, but Cherry said goals will be at a premium against Lightning backstopper Dwayne Roloson. He predicts both team’s goalies will take center stage in this series.

“I tell you one thing, they won’t get those goals off of Roloson,” Cherry said. “I phoned [Capitals coach] Bruce Boudreau in January and left him a message. I usually don’t do that, but I said, ‘You’ve got to get a hold of that Roloson. This guy will win you the Stanley Cup. He’s hungry, he’s 41 years old, this is his last shot.’ And he didn’t do it. A week later, [Lightning general manager] Stevie Yzerman picked him up. I think he got two shutouts in a row, shut out Washington. He is dynamite.

“And I’ll tell you one thing: Philadelphia, I have never understood them that they have gone 20 years and they seem as if they don’t want to get a good goaltender. It’s beyond me.

“You watch this guy [Saturday night], Roloson. He is dynamite. But Timmy Thomas, right on the money, too. This is going to be a battle of goaltenders.”

Added Cherry of Thomas: “Timmy Thomas is on a roll right now. He’s got something to prove.”

Cherry, who coached the Bruins from 1974-75 through 1978-79, predicts the Bruins will advance to the Stanley Cup finals vs. the Canucks. “I like Boston,” he said. “I picked Boston to be in the finals. But this will be a tough one, because these guys are on a roll ‘€” [Martin] St. Louis and [Vincent] Lecavalier. And [Steven] Stamkos hasn’t really picked it up yet. I’ll tell you one thing: This is going to be a great series.”

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Read More: Don Cherry, Dwayne Roloson, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos
How Zdeno Chara shut down Flyers and why it matters against Lightning 05.07.11 at 3:08 pm ET
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Before their Eastern Conference semifinal series, there was lots written and said about how much trouble the Bruins would have stopping the high-powered Philadelphia offense.

After all, the Flyers led the East in the regular season with 259 goals, behind only Vancouver and Detroit in the entire NHL. Against Buffalo in the first round, Philly scored five goals in three of its four wins and four in the other, all against Ryan Miller, one of the elite goalies in the sport.

But the Bruins didn’t blink, after allowing three goals ‘€” two in garbage time ‘€” in Game 1, the Flyers scored just four the rest of the way in getting outscored 20-7 in the Bruins sweep.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said every Bruins player understood what was expected in “the system.”

“It was big,” Chara said. “I thought eventually in Games 3 and 4 they started to find a way of creating speed through the neutral zone. But I thought the first two games, we completely took that away from them.”

Danny Briere, Mike Richards and James van Riemsdyk scored in Game 1. Van Riemsdyk accounted for both Philly tallies in Game 2. Andrej Meszaros scored a harmless goal in Game 3 and Kris Versteeg scored in Game 4.

There was nothing from Claude Giroux, Ville Leino, Nikolay Zherdev, an injury-slowed Jeff Carter, a nicked-up Chris Pronger and Scott Hartnell. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Boston Bruins, Claude Julien, Danny Briere
Steven Kampfer, Vincent Lecavalier score in the second 12.28.10 at 9:15 pm ET
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For the second straight period, the Bruins jumped out to a lead only to see Tampa Bay tie it, and the two teams are knotted at two as they head for the final 20 minutes of regulation.

After costing the Bruins a night before with a turnover in his own end that led to a Panthers goal, Steven Kampfer scored his first career NHL goal after the final seconds of a too-many-men penalty on the Lightning ticked away. In sending a puck to Kampfer from the corner to set up the tally, Marc Savard picked up his 700th career point.

Tampa was able to tie it when Vincent Lecavalier picked up his fourth goal in the last three games at 14:02. With Tim Thomas cutting down the angle perhaps a bit too much, Lecavalier went wide and around the net to jam home a wrap-around.

Through two periods, the Bruins are 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Lighting are 1-for-4. The Lightning are outshooting the B’s, 21-14.

Read More: Steven Kampfer, Vincent Lecavalier,
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