Skip to content

Bruins score early, Tim Thomas shuts out Lightning to give Boston 2-1 series lead

May 19, 2011, 11:30 PM EDT

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Three Getty Images

When David Krejci scored a little more than a minute into Game 3, it was natural to wonder if we had another wild and wide-open game on our hands. The rest of the first period featured its fair share of defensive lapses and near-scores, but the two teams finally went back to the type of defense-first hockey most of us expected in the last two periods.

That style seemed to suit the Boston Bruins the best, as Patrice Bergeron didn’t miss a beat in his return to playoff action while Tim Thomas earned a 31-save shutout to give the B’s a 2-1 series lead.

Boston 2, Tampa Bay 0; Bruins lead series 2-1

Thomas notched the second shutout of his playoff career in this win. He made some huge stops during this contest, although his defense didn’t hang him out to dry like they did in both home games. There was one play that symbolized that improved work to me: Zdeno Chara made a great play to intercept a pass on what could have been a deadly 2-on-1 play against Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier. That odd-man rush had “GOAL” written all over it, but Chara sniffed it out.

Perhaps the biggest story of this series is the outstanding play of Thomas, who is solidifying his place as the best goalie in the world right now. Yes, Boston’s defense was better in Game 3, but the Lightning still put 31 shots on net. Even with some tough moments, Thomas put aside 96 out of 105 shots so far in this series and carried elite numbers into the Eastern Conference finals as well.

Two goals and one controversial penalty call

It’s tough not to throw Victor Hedman under the bus for the first (and ultimately game-winning) goal by Krejci. Hedman left the talented pivot all alone in front of the Lightning net and a sprawling Dwayne Roloson had no chance against a guy with Krejci’s hands. The most impressive part of this goal was Krejci’s patience, as he waited to settle down the puck before putting it past Roloson.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

The first period wasn’t all great news for Krejci, as Marc-Andre Bergeron delivered a big (but by almost all accounts, clean) hit on him later on. Bergeron received a widely criticized elbowing penalty for that check, but like many stated, the onus was on Krejci to be aware of where he was on the ice. On the bright side, the Bruins didn’t score on the ensuing power play.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

The Bruins didn’t have a ton of trouble bottling up the Lightning attack thanks to more responsible defensive coverage, a middling Tampa Bay effort and great play by Thomas. Boston also was wise to avoid “turtle mode” by continuing to create offense, which allowed Andrew Ference to give the team an 2-0 insurance goal. As we know now, that extra goal ended up being unnecessary.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Outlook for both teams

No doubt about it, the Bruins are a more formidable opponent with their best two-way forward in the lineup. Patrice Bergeron simply looked fantastic tonight. He played more than 19 minutes, went 18 for 28 in the faceoff circle and showed little hesitancy to fight for pucks along the boards.

Boston must be feeling great about this victory, especially since Krejci seemed fine after taking that big hit in the first period. About the only negative is that they were out-shot 15-5 in the third period, but again, they weren’t as passive as that number might indicate.

The Lightning still have some reasons to be concerned, but their outlook would change dramatically with a spirited Game 4 win. They haven’t been down in a series since the first round against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it would be shocking if Tampa Bay bowed out of this one. That being said, falling down 3-1 would be more worrisome against Boston than it was against a limited Pittsburgh squad.

Latest Posts
  1. Sens agree with Lehner on three-year, $6.675 million contract

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Robin Lehner AP

    Went 12-15-6 with a .913 save percentage last season for Ottawa.

  2. Price (knee) won’t start skating ’til mid-August

    Jul 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Carey Price AP

    But he also won’t require surgery.

  3. 1st-rounders Vrana (Caps), Pastrnak (B’s) highlight Czech WJC team

    Jul 30, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    2014 NHL Draft - Round 1 Getty Images

    They’ll face off against Canada and Russia at a tournament in Toronto next week.

  4. Report: New Jersey re-signs Timmins

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers St. Louis Blues v Florida Panthers

    Acquired last season in exchange for Krys Barch.

  5. Agent: Subban hasn’t told me to make him NHL’s highest-paid D

    Jul 30, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    PK Subban Getty Images

    “We haven’t approached it in that respect.”

  6. NHL hit with another concussion lawsuit

    Jul 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    bettmangetty Getty Images

    This time, it features just one plaintiff — former Bruin Jon Rohloff.

  7. Devils sign Greene to five-year, $25M extension

    Jul 30, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Alternate captain notched a career-high in goals last year.

  8. Contract talks stalled between Kuemper, Wild

    Jul 30, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Darcy Kuemper AP

    “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract.”

  9. New Red Wings assistant ‘couldn’t be happier’ to get opportunity to work under Babcock

    Jul 30, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Tri City Americans v Kelowna Rockets Getty Images

    Jim Hiller is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Todd McLellan, Paul MacLean, and Bill Peters.

  10. Not ready to hang ‘em up? Selanne considering return to Jokerit

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT

    Teemu Selanne of Finland (8) takes a victory lap around the ice with his medal after he men's bronze medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Finland defeated the United States 5-0. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

    Finnish club is moving to the KHL next season.

  11. Habs add Lacroix and Ramage to coaching staff

    Jul 30, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game One Getty Images

    That’s Lacroix, when he was an assistant for Tampa Bay.

  12. Red Wings hire two more coaches for Babcock’s staff

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:44 AM EDT

    Mike Babcock Getty Images

    Jim Hiller and Andrew Brewer join Tony Granato, who’s also new.

  13. Subban seeking $8.5 million in arbitration, versus the Habs at $5.25 million

    Jul 30, 2014, 10:10 AM EDT

    P.K. Subban AP

    Will this all get settled before Friday’s hearing?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches