The Boston Bruins kicked off their second round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. A matchup that is slated to be, pardon the pun, electric from start to finish. The teams were the top two in points heading into the pause. Tampa Bay outshot Boston 37 to 31, but what does matter is the scoreboard.
The Bruins took the 3-2 victory all the way back to Hotel X in Toronto. Boston turned the puck over more than I’d like them to but my standards are a little high.
Both teams finished their first round series in 5 games. However, the Lightning played significantly more hockey and made history with the 5OT game that kicked off their series.
The Bruins played without top goal scorer, David Pasternak for three games but has since returned with four points in his last two games. The Lightning are still without their captain Steven Stamkos who has been sidelined due to injury but that hasn’t slowed them down yet.
Making Your Mark
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, made a few lineup adjustments heading into game one, likely to cater to the extra physicality of the Lightning. We saw Nick Ritchie and Anders Bjork back in to accompany Charlie Coyle on the third line. Coyle was the first to crack into the scoreboard last night in the first period with just over a minute remaining with the help of Brad Marchand and Brandon Carlo.
David Krejci continues to impress everyone with a resurgence of production. He’s been giving off 2011 Krejci energy lately; I hope that it never fades away. Krejci assisted David Pastrnak’s goal to put the Bruins up 2-0 in the second period for his eighth point in his last five games.
The top line has found their groove and that should be scary for everyone rooting against the Bruins. The Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak line has totaled 21 points since the conclusion of the round-robin games. Most impressive, Pasta has six points (two goals and four assists) and has played in three fewer games.
Jaroslav Halak was stellar, especially during the second period. The team in front of him lost their legs for a good portion of the middle period, letting 18 shots get through to Halak. He was standing on his head there for a while. The team became stingy with letting shots through for the start of the third. It took Tampa Bay more than eight minutes to register their first shot on goal in the final frame so of course, that shot found the back of the net. It was a goal that Halak definitely wants back. The Lightning scored again late in the period and brought it to a one goal game, par for the course for a Boston/Tampa Bay game. Both goals came with scrutiny, more for Charlie McAvoy for providing the screen for his own goalie. While that isn’t the best, the good news is that McAvoy bounces back after a mediocre performance on the ice. Look for him to be back to the force we know and love in game two tomorrow night.
I think the Bruins played much better than I expected them to in game one. I was a little (okay a lot) nervous heading into the series. Halak hadn’t played the Lightning in four years, and I know teams change year to year but it’s still nerve-wracking to watch. But it seems that Boston is firing from all cylinders which is a much-welcomed sight. I’d like to see Ondrej Kase and Bjork be able to capitalize on their chances and get at least one puck in the back of the net at some point soon. I am thankful that they keep trying. I think once one puck goes their way they’ll be unstoppable.
-Jess Donahue (@jld392)
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