THN’s Take: With so little separating conference finalists these days, you really can’t afford to get caught off your game. With 10 days between contests after sweeping Washington, the Lightning were the team most assumed would need some time to get their heads back in the game. But you know what they say about assuming…
Boston – Dennis Seidenberg and Tomas Kaberle specifically – played sloppy for 1:25 in the first period, gave up three goals and, in turn, the game. The Lightning’s lesser-lights, a major story for the team this post-season, continued the narrative and peppered the scoresheet.
While Tampa’s stars were no slouches themselves, you don’t get far in the NHL post-season without depth and big contributions from second tier players. Tampa’s been getting that and more all spring.
Sean Bergenheim’s league-leading eighth maker of the playoffs tied him for third among playoff goal scorers who tallied 15 or fewer goals during the regular season since 2001; he now has four goals in his past three games. Teddy Purcell, who scored the third Tampa marker, has a goal and seven assists in his past five games and is now up to 13 playoff points.
Tampa’s other goal-scorers were Brett Clark, Marc-Andre Bergeron and Simon Gagne. There was just one assist Saturday between Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St-Louis and Steven Stamkos, yet Tampa won comfortably. That’s a scary scenario for the Bruins.
The Lightning have now won eight straight games (six straight on the road) and 16 of their past 20 including the regular season. They’re rolling like no other team in the playoffs and nullified Boston’s home ice advantage for now with a Game 1 victory.
The Bruins have an 11-32 record when losing the first game of a series. Although they played well for 58 minutes, they’ll have to make sure it’s a full 60 Tuesday.
1. Dwayne Roloson – The 41-year-old stopped 31 shots and was beaten only by a beautiful Tyler Seguin rush and a shot that deflected off a defenseman’s skate. He became the first goalie since Jacques Plante to win eight consecutive playoff games.
2. Vinny Lecavalier – The Lightning captain had a four-game point streak snapped (3-3-6), but was a monster nonetheless. He was plus-3 with five shots on goal, won better than 60 percent of his draws, set up plays and stuck up for teammates.
3. Dominic Moore – One of those depth guys who’s stepped-up all post-season. He’s a third-line energy guy nearing a point-per-game pace these playoffs and anchors the best penalty-killing unit left in the post-season. Saturday he was all over the ice, playing like a man possessed and killed 4:26 of the eight total minutes Tampa Bay was down a man.
The Black Hole
Dennis Seidenberg – It was his lazy plays that directly led to two of the Lightning’s first three goals. He played a lot and wasn’t horrible all night, but was minus-3 and the poster boy for Boston’s suspect first period.
The NHL Game Night Recap will get you caught up with all the playoff action. THN will name our Three Stars for each game and tabulate the results after each series. First Star = three points, Second Star = two points, Third Star = one point.