Tim Thomas reminded everyone Thursday night why he is a candidate for the Vezina Trophy in the Bruins’ 2-0 win over the Lightning in Game 3.
In case anyone needed to be reminded of just how good the Bruins’ goaltender was, Thomas now has a shutout to add to his extensive list of accomplishments this postseason. With a shutout from Thomas and goals from David Krejci and Andy Ference, the Bruins now lead the best of seven series with the Lightning 2-1.
The news around Boston over the past few days was that Milan Lucic was limping due to a sore right foot. However, it is the playoffs after all, and his foot did not seem to bother him when he skated hard to the corner to assist Krejci on the Bruins’ first goal of the night. Krejci backhanded the puck into the back of the net just 1:09 into the first period.
There was a scary moment in the first period when Tampa’s Marc-Andre Bergeron hit Krejci. He made contact with the Bruins’ top playmaker’s head and sending him flying to the ice. Bergeron was called for elbowing and Krejci did not come back in the first period. Luckily for the Bruins, Krejci returned in the second stanza.
Andrew Ference scored a goal in the third period, a shot that slowly slid between the legs of Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson to give the Bruins an insurance goal in the third period.
In the past two games the defense on both sides looked shaky, but the Bruins buckled down during Thursday’s match up after they had collectively let 10 goals in the first two games of the series. They looked like a completely different team on the defensive end during game three. Unlike games one and two, the defense seemed to calm down and play their game, a strong, disciplined, passing game, especially in the neutral zone.
The defense was excellent on the forecheck and preventing any rebound attempts for the dangerous Tampa offense. Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg both logged over 28 minutes of ice time to contribute to an outstanding effort by the Bruins blue line.
Thomas was perfect throughout the 60 minutes of play. He racked up 31 saves on the night, shutting out Tampa for his second career shutout in the playoffs.
One of the offensive highlights for the Bruins was the return of Patrice Bergeron, who had sat out game two due to a mild concussion he received in game one of the series.
“I felt good out there,” said Bergeron after the game. “I was pretty happy, obviously, to be back and help the team. It was more a matter of taking it a day at a time and I felt good for the past week so I decided I was ready to go.”
Bergeron is not often praised for his physical play as much as his offensive dominance, but he was aggressive on the forecheck as well in the neutral zone and did not shy away from any physical play. He also was a powerhouse on the face-off circle, going 18-10 from the dot.
“It’s about team effort,” said Bergeron. “In the playoffs, it’s about making sure everyone chips in, and I think that’s what we did.”