The Boston Bruins played the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night for the first time since meeting in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. That seven-game series was arguably one of the best of the entire playoffs, concluding with an epic Game 7, a 1-0 shutout by the Bruins. The Bruins went on to win their sixth Stanley Cup championship, the first in 39 years.
The goalie matchup tonight featured a now 1-1 Tim Thomas against long-time backup goaltender Mathieu Garon.
Lets see how the Bruins faired in this week’s Bruins breakdown:
It was nice to see Benoit Pouliot get involved physically early on in the game. The highly touted winger added a few rebound scoring chances as time ran out on Boston’s first power play, a solid start to his Bruins career for the former Montreal Canadien.
The Bruins second line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Rich Peverley continued to produce the most offensively, creating many scoring chances. As the period was ending, Tyler Seguin almost hooked up with Pouliot for his first goal of the season, but was stopped on a strong save by Garon. It was a good start to the game by the duo, with Chris Kelly centering the pair.
The second period featured continued great play by the Marchand, Bergeron and Peverley line. At the 2:04 mark of the second period, the line was finally rewarded with a goal as Marchand snuck out in front of the net, ripped a wrist shot off the post, leaving Peverley in perfect position to slam home the rebound. The goal read Peverley from Marchand and Johnny Boychuck
Later on the in the period, a surprising early season goal by Daniel Paille gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead. The assists came from a beautiful Seguin drop pass (the second year phenom continues to impress) and a successful shot on net from the point by Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. The goal came at the 4:58 mark of the second period.
The third line of the Bruins played very well in the second period, with Seguin and Pouliot both creating numerous scoring chances, while Kelly stayed consistent with his strong defensive play.
The Bruins first line finally gets off the snide! An absolute cannon of a slap shot by David Krejci, coming off a bouncing rebound from a Milan Lucic wrist shot, gave the Bruins a 3-1 lead at the 3:07 mark of the third period. Nice to see this line get going, as they are undoubtedly Boston’s best line offensively when the chemistry is there and all three players are working their hardest.
The Lucic goal came with another Seguin assist, but it was the hard work of Krejci and Lucic that led to the tally.
The second line followed up strong shifts by the first line with one of their own, as Peverley scored on a rebound from a Bergeron pass to Marchand, both of whom recorded assists on Peverley’s second goal of the game. The goal came at the 8:43 mark of the third period. The second line continues to be Boston’s best line here in the early going of the season.
There still seems to be a bit of Stanley Cup rust hanging on the Bruins’ game. Sloppy breakout passes in their own zone and crucial turnovers by the Bruins’ young stars continue to be a problem, one that needs to be fixed. If it wasn’t for a few magical Tim Thomas saves in the first period, thoroughly bailing out his defensive core, Tampa could have easily left the period with a sufficient lead.
The Bruins’ top line continued to struggle offensively, as signs of frustration showed, and Milan Lucic was called for an undisciplined slashing penalty at the 16:31 mark of the first period.
Nathan Horton turning the puck over at Tampa’s blue line, leading to a breakaway wrist shot goal by Martin St. Louis, was a prime example of the turnovers that must be eliminated.
Turning the puck over at both bluelines is a theme that must end soon if the Bruins want to prevent opposing teams from scoring.
Besides a few defensive zone turnovers, it was a very well played third period by the Bruins, easily solidifying the victory against the Lightning. This win should bode well from a confidence standpoint, and the Bruins hope to carry their newly found momentum into the next game.
FROM THE ROOM:
Patrice Bergeron on his consistent chemistry with linemates Brad Marchand and Rich Peverley:
Tyler Seguin on his second year and improved confidence:
Benoit Pouliot on his first career game as a Boston Bruin: