Well, that got a little stressful at the end there.
Dominating through the first two periods of the NHL’s Eastern Conference semifinals the Boston Bruins showed the Lightning that the team Tampa Bay defeated two weeks ago in a round-robin game was just warming up.
But in the third, the Lightning proceeded to show the Bruins that they won’t just roll over in this series. Buckle up.
The Bruins take a 1-0 lead in the serie win and showed a lot of potential to win the series if they remain consistent through the final buzzer.
Boston looked good on special teams, and on the faceoff, the Bruins won 38 compared to the Lightning’s 27.
Notably, the first line was fantastic. Their second goal of the game, with the play saved by Patrice Bergeron and finished by Brad Marchand by way of David Pastrnak, tells the whole story.
“He has a gift,” Marchand said of Bergeron stealing the puck back from Ryan McDonagh before the third goal. “The way he reads the game and his stick positioning and his ability to read plays, there’s just very few guys in the league that have that ability on the defensive side of things. Lots of guys are good offensively and can cheat and pick pucks off. He does it from a defensive standpoint. He creates so many opportunities out of our zone, through the neutral zone and on the forecheck, the way he did where he’s picking pucks and lifting sticks. Just his back pressure is incredible. That goal was all him, his forechecking there, a great read. That’s why he’s going to be a Hall of Famer.”
Head coach Bruce Cassidy was pleased with the first line too.
“Well they’re good players, you know that, you’ve seen it,” Cassidy said “They don’t quit on plays. Third goal is a great example of that, puck recovery on the power play for Pasta’s goal by everyone in the group, so real good job.
“You typically aren’t going to advance if your best players aren’t your best players and you know the second period they weren’t as strong on the puck as they were early on, but they got it back. And again, full value, their line carried us. I thought some other guys did their job as well, just didn’t get rewarded on the score sheet but nice start for that line.”
Here are some other takeaways from the Bruins Game 1 win:
— The second line, led by David Krejci, had a solid night.
After the game, Marchand mentioned the depth Boston has, saying “when you have three first-line centers, it definitely makes it harder to defend.”
That comment couldn’t be more true for center David Krejci. With his assist on Pastrnak’s goal, the second of the game, his postseason point streak was extended to seven games.
“I was ready for about 15 seconds, I knew it was coming,” Pastrnak said of Krejci’s assist.
“He’s an unbelievable playmaker, he’s been doing that for a long time in this league.”
And while Ondrej Kase may not have found the back of the net, it wasn’t for lack of trying. The right winger had three early shots on net in the first, but couldn’t seem to finish. When he finally does get lucky, look out. It’s bound to happen eventually.
— Jaroslav Halak has earned 50 career shutouts over the course of his 14-year career in the NHL, but never one in the playoffs.
And he came so close to notching his first until the third period happened. First, Victor Hedman got Tampa on the board halfway through the third period. Though, it seemed as though Charlie McAvoy slightly deflected the puck in while screening the goalie.
But after pulling their goalie, Hedman and the Lightning struck again to make it 3-2. Regardless, the Bruins pulled it out and Halak now is 4-0 in the postseason thus far.
“Yeah I mean he was dominant,” Cassidy said of the goalie. “The other two goals, I think one went in off Charlie (McAvoy), the other one had eyes, so they certainly got a couple of fortunate ones, but boy did he make some saves in the second where they probably deserved better. And I thought their guy did too, made a great save on McAvoy and a couple others in tight, (Ondrej) Kase on a breakaway. So I thought both goalies did their job. We just happened to be one save better.”
Halak recorded 35 saves between the pipes, earning him some praise from teammates as well.
“We have to help him out as much as we can,” Coyle said of Halak. “We also have so much confidence in him. He’s a great goalie, he’s been huge from us and that’s what we need from him. When they slip in there and we break down a little bit, he’s there to shut the door.
— Zdeno Chara, with his 146th playoff games under his belt, has moved up to second in the Bruins’ all-time postseason games played.
— With Boston leading the series 1-0, Game 2 will take place Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 7:00 p.m. ET.