May 19, 2011, 11:30 PM EST
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:37 AM EST
Veteran Ottawa center will sit as a healthy scratch again tonight.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:30 AM EST
Scored a big goal last night versus Toronto.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:18 AM EST
The NHL’s 29th- and 30th-ranked teams get it on.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:58 AM EST
“There’s a lot of different avenues we have to explore here,” says Ron Hextall.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:36 AM EST
So you can probably guess where he stands on the matter.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:01 AM EST
He left the team after his father passed away.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:22 AM EST
San Jose is in the thick of a tight Pacific Division battle.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:44 AM EST
The 2014 Eastern Conference finalists meet to continue their respective battles for home ice advantage.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Thursday’s collection of links.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:35 AM EST
Looked like L.A. was in serious trouble.
Jan 29, 2015, 12:30 AM EST
Washington is now three points back of Pittsburgh in the Metropolitan Division.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:51 PM EST
Weren’t at all inspired Tuesday.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:28 PM EST
That’s a nice set up.
Jan 28, 2015, 11:05 PM EST
Christian Ehrhoff was hurt on the play.
Jan 28, 2015, 10:43 PM EST
Had the edge in shots, and shot attempts, but only one point to show for.
Jan 28, 2015, 10:15 PM EST
High expectations in Chicago.
Jan 28, 2015, 9:53 PM EST
“Feeling the flow. Working it. Working it.”
Jan 28, 2015, 9:39 PM EST
Western Conference foes.
Jan 28, 2015, 8:50 PM EST
Washington’s young forward landed some bombs.
Jan 28, 2015, 8:31 PM EST
His 28th of the season, kicking off Rivalry Night.
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- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 9
- Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins 42
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 19
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- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 63
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 31
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 45