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Playing in their first Eastern Conference Finals since 1992, the Bruins seemed a bit overwhelmed in Game 1 on Saturday night. Or, perhaps they were a bit rusty (they hadn’t played in more than a week). Whatever it was, it wasn’t good and needs to change if the Bruins have any shot of advancing to the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1990.
Behind a flurry of three goals within 85 seconds in the first period, the Lightning took down the Bruins 5-2 to lead the best-of-seven series 1-0. The Bruins, meanwhile went 0-4 on the power play and are now 2-41 in that situation through the first three series of the playoffs.
For the first time during the playoffs, Bruins goalie Tim Thomas can actually take some of the blame for the team’s collapse in the first period.
“I thought we gave them some easy goals and that was more of our doing than it was theirs,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. You can say that again, Claude.
The first goal wasn’t Thomas’s fault, though. Thomas made a save, and Dennis Seidenberg attempted to kick the puck out of danger’s way after losing his stick, but instead the puck rolled right in front of Sean Bergenheim, who banged home his eighth goal of the playoffs.
Just 19 seconds later, Brett Clark gathered the loose puck, skated by two Bruins, and fired a shot by the right side of Thomas for the goal and a 2-0 lead.
The Lightning made it 3-0 just a minute later. Tomas Kaberle was controlling the puck behind Thomas when it got loose right near the front of the net. Teddy Purcell charged and fired a shot that was saved by Thomas, but he knocked home the rebound for his second goal of the playoffs.
Patrice Bergeron sat out with a minor concussion, but his replacement, Tyler Seguin, got the Bruins back in the game a few minutes later. He put a nice move on two defenders and beat Dwayne Roloson for his first career playoff goal (15:59, 1st) in his first career playoff game.
They could have used Bergeron’s skills on the face-off, though. The Lightning won 61% of the face-offs, taking 41 of them to the Bruins’ 29.
After a scoreless second period, the Lightning tacked on an insurance goal midway through the third when Marc-Andre Bergeron scored on the power play. He fired a shot from 30 feet away that beat Thomas top-shelf. Thomas was shielded on the play.
Bruins killer Simon Gagne added an empty-netter with less than three minutes to go to make it 5-1.
Johnny Boychuk scored a minute later to help the Bruins save face a bit, finally beating Roloson again for his third goal of the playoffs.
If anyone has actually been better than Thomas this postseason, it’s Roloson. The Tampa goaltender finished with 31 saves against the Bruins in Game 1 despite playing with a heavy heart. Roloson played with Rangers enforcer Derek Boogaard (who was found dead in his apartment on Friday) for a year in Minnesota.
The Bruins will look to even the series in Game 2 on Tuesday night. There’s no word on whether Patrice Bergeron will be able to play, but it doesn’t look likely. If that’s the case, Tyler Seguin would remain in the lineup.