Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eastern Conference Finals - Game Two

Not much went right for the Bruins in game one of the Eastern Conference finals. A big part of that was the play of first line center David Krejci. He lost 15 out of 18 face-offs and that is a huge part of the game. Also, the Bruins failed to get the power play going due to the lack of determination by defenseman Tomas Kaberle. I hate to single out players because it is a team sport, but those two individuals needed to step up tonight for game two.

Patrice Bergeron was ruled out for the game tonight. However, he participated in the morning skate and was solid in the team's practice yesterday. He is shooting for a return in game three on Thursday. With that being said, Rich Peverley replaced Bergeron on that second line and Chris Kelly skated on the third line. I could have told you that was going to happen. Oh wait, I did. Anyway, injured Bruins star center Marc Savard was in attendance at the TD Garden tonight hoping to spark some intensity in his team.

The first period literally started off with a Tampa Bay goal. Just 13 seconds into the game, Adam Hall gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead. What is interesting is that the Bruins won the face-off, yet they conceded the first goal. Later in the period, Nathan Horton scored for Boston to tie the game. The goal came on a 5-on-3 power play and it was only Boston's third power play goal in the playoffs. The Lightning grabbed the lead back just seven seconds left in the opening period. Martin St. Louis beat his old college buddy Tim Thomas in the front of the net for his seventh goal of the playoffs. That goal adds to his playoff total of 15 points and that leads the team. Daniel Paille (BOS) showed some great hustle while he was on the penalty kill as he kept up the pressure and forced a couple of turnovers. He may not play much but when he does he must make the most of it because he could very well lose his spot to Tyler Seguin when Bergeron returns.

The second period started not only with Boston trailing by a score of 2-1, but they skated the first two minutes without their captain Zdeno Chara. He was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with Steve Downie of the Lightning. As it turns out they did not need him. Before he even stepped on the ice in the second period, the Bruins got the lead back. Tyler Seguin scored his second goal of the postseason on an assist from Michael Ryder and David Krejci scored on a beautiful pass from Dennis Seidenberg. Seguin added another goal in the period when he and Nathan Horton went on a 2-on-1 breakaway and Horton slid the puck over to the kid for the goal. Seguin returned the favor to Ryder as he assisted two goals that were both scored by Ryder. Somewhere in there Vincent Lecavalier tallied another goal for the Lightning. At the end of the period, Boston had a 6-3 lead.

The Lightning pulled their starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson to start the third period after Boston put the puck passed him six times. Mike Smith came in to replace Roloson and he stopped all eight shots he faced. This period was all about the high octane offense of Tampa Bay. They scored two goals to pull within one. Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore had the goals for the Lightning. The goal by Moore should not have counted because the helmet of Tim Thomas came off before the puck went into the net. If a goaltender's helmet comes off, the play should be whistled dead and that was not the case. Even though Thomas allowed five goals in this game, the Bruins would not have held the lead because he made outstanding saves time and time again. The Bruins held on to win game two by a score of 6-5. Game three will be Thursday down in Tampa Bay.

Gold Star: Tyler Seguin (2 goals, 2 assists, +3 rating, 3 shots on goal)...he established himself tonight as a legit NHL player. If and when Marc Savard retires, that is why we drafted Seguin: a future first line center. Six total points in two games. If Claude Julien does not play Seguin when Bergeron returns, he will have an uprising on his hands from Bruins fans. Play the kid. You have no choice at this point.

Black Star: Shawn Thornton...he has one total point in the playoffs this season. Yes he brings a physical presence with an enforcer mentality, but in the playoffs it is about wins. He will not help the Bruins win. Thornton could very well be the odd man out in favor of Seguin when Bergeron returns.

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