Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eastern Conference Finals - Game One

It has been awhile for both the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning since they last took the ice for a game. In fact, it was 8 days for Boston and 10 days for Tampa Bay. For the Bruins, they used that time to adjust to the loss of Patrice Bergeron. During practices, they shuffled around player after player trying to figure out the right combinations for the game one lines. The two big changes to the lineup were that Chris Kelly would be centering the second line in place of Bergeron and Tyler Seguin would be activated for his first action of the postseason. Also, defenseman Adam McQuaid was activated for game one tonight after suffering a sprained neck against the Philadelphia Flyers in game two of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

As the week progressed, I was not too thrilled about Kelly playing up on that second line. Earlier this winter when Bergeron had to miss a game due to personal problems, it was Rich Peverley that filled in for him. Also, with Kelly in between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi, that would equal three left handed shots, which makes for a pretty predictable defensive scheme. On the other hand, it was great to hear that the rookie would see ice time in this series.

Game one of the Eastern Conference finals was not what Bruins fans were expecting to say the least. In a span of 1:25 during the first period, the Lightning got out to a 3-0 lead. Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark, and Teddy Purcell had the goals. The goals by Clark and Purcell were unassisted because of Bruins turnovers in their own end. Later on in the period, Tyler Seguin scored for the Bruins to cut the lead to 3-1. His first career postseason game and he nets a goal. A sign of things to come?

The second period did not produce any goals, but it did have its fair share of penalties. Both teams were able to produce strong penalty killing tactics to keep the score what it was. Even though Boston had some good shots during the man advantage, certain players were out of position. There was a point where Tomas Kaberle was set up at the point and Zdeno Chara was in the corner slot near the face-off dot. The ideal set up would be to have those two players reversed but that did not end up happening.

In the third period, Marc-Andre Bergeron, the power play specialist for the Lightning, did what he does best. He scored on the power play to give Tampa Bay their three goal lead back. Towards the end of the game, Bruins forwards Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic threw sucker punches at Victor Hedman and Dominic Moore, respectively. There was no need for that type of sportsmanship. If you are going to lose, at least lose with a little bit of class. Tampa Bay took game one by a final score of 5-2.

The Bruins have to remember that Tampa Bay loves to use a 1-3-1 formation when the opposing team is bringing the puck into the neutral zone. This is where most pucks are often won by the Lightning to produce their quick counter-attack. Also, they dress eleven forwards and seven defensemen instead of the routine twelve forwards and six defensemen. This keeps the opposing team on their toes with different line combinations in the middle of the game. The Bruins will have to adjust better to these antics in game two, which will be Tuesday night at the TD Garden.

Gold Star: Tyler Seguin ( 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots on goal, 2 hits).

Black Star: Tomas Kaberle...he tried to get too fancy behind his own net and that led to a takeaway which led to a Lightning goal. Also, he was horrible on the power play by being in the wrong position and not moving the puck into the zone.

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