Momentum was on the Bruins’ side after their Game 3 win and after they scored three goals in the first period; they looked like a confident and sound team. But as playoff hockey often goes, things got bad, and they got bad quickly.
Even with their 3-0 lead heading into the second period, the Bruins lost control of the game and ended up losing to the Bolts with a final score of 5-3.
The Bruins seemed in control of the game from the very beginning of the first period. Tim Thomas made timely saves, whereas the Bruins defense used their bodies and good stick work to get the puck out of their defensive zone. The offense was also clicking, scoring three times in the first period.
In the opening period, Victor Hedman made a pass behind the net in an attempt to give Brett Clark the puck, however, he misplayed the puck. Patrice Bergeron gained possession of the puck, and beat Dwayne Roloson on the side of the net to give the Bruins their first goal of the afternoon.
With the effort of Chris Kelly and Bergeron, the Bruins forced a turnover in the neutral zone. Michael Ryder stick-handled the puck past Mike Lundin, then shot the puck, which went off of Dwayne Roloson’s skate and found its way to the back of the net to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead.
Bergeron capped off his fantastic first period with a shorthanded goal to give the Bruins a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the second period.
“‘Bergy’ was good for us,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said of his star player. “There’s no issues with his game, and that’s the kind of player you rely on game in, game out. And you hope that a lot of players take his example because that’s what we need, and that’s what we didn’t get tonight.”
In the second period, Thomas didn’t play the puck well behind the net, and had a miscommunication with top defensemen Zdeno Chara, which resulted in a turnover by Ryan Malone. The puck ended up on the stick of Simon Gagne, who got the assist as Teddy Purcell backhanded the puck into the net. Exactly 63 seconds later, Purcell struck again to put Tampa within a goal of tying the game.
It would have been a perfect time for Julien to call a timeout. His team had just let in two goals and they were not playing the controlled game one would expect from the black and gold. Julien did not call a time out, and instead Tomas Kaberle was completely beat behind the Bruins net by Sean Bergenheim to even out the score.
“We got outworked,” Thomas said after the game. ‘They took over, they outplayed us, they started getting scoring chances, and we stopped getting scoring chances.”
Gagne’s turnover resulted in a goal for Tampa, which gave them their first lead of the afternoon. An empty netter late in the third period sealed the deal for the Lightning, as they evened up the series at two games apiece.
One noticeable trouble spot for the Bruins is their power play. It continues to be a huge problem for them. Early on the second period, the Bruins held onto a solid 3-0 lead against the Lightning and had two back-to-back power plays. The Bruins did nothing with their one man advantage opportunities, which seems to be the story of the playoffs for the black and gold.
The Bruins have made it to round three of the playoffs without much action on their man advantage, as they are 4-for-52 during post season play. They might have gotten this far without many power play goals, but to continue their season, they need to capitalize their opportunities when they are on the power play.
“It’s a big issue right now and it’s something we’ve got to bear down on and find a way,” said Bergeron. “They won the game because of that.”