Bruins big line speaks first in Bolts’ series

by Gary Shelton on April 29, 2018 · 4 comments

in general

Vasilevskiy makes the save, but the Bolts gave up six./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy makes the save, but the Bolts gave up six./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday,, 3 a.m.

Really, there was nothing to say. There was no way for them to talk their way into making a 6-2 loss sound better.

There was no way to explain the sting of dropping the first game of their best-of-seven series without the words sounding hollow.

For the Tampa Bay Lightning, there was just disappointment after being clobbered in a 6-2 loss to the Bruins at home.

Just like that, the Bruins took the early control of the

Point battles Bergeron for the puck./JEFFREY S. KING

Point battles Bergeron for the puck./JEFFREY S. KING

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Girardi scored a goal for the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

Girardi scored a goal for the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

series. They took over home ice advantage. They returned to their air of superiority with their fourth win in  five meetings this year.

Did they create doubt?

Maybe a sliver, but it's early in the series. Still, the Bolts find themselves in the

Yanni Gourde has an assist on the Sergachev goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Yanni Gourde has an assist on the Sergachev goal./JEFFREY S. KING

position of needing a win Monday night before the series threatens to run away from them.

The Bruins' top line of Brad Marchand, David Pasternak and Patrice Bergeron combined for 11 points in the victory over the Lightning. The Bruins made the most of their scoring chances.

“They’re  good," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "They’ve played together for a while. They know where  to find each other. they play both ends of the rink.

"They’ve played on Olympics teams, World Cup teams. Every time you look up and Canada is winning, usually Marchand and Bergeron have something to do with it. So they’ve done it for a long time."

Kucherov looks for an opening against Boston./JEFFREY S. KING

Kucherov looks for an opening against Boston./JEFFREY S. KING

The score was closer than you might think. It was 1-0 after one period and 3-2 after two. But Boston outscored the Bolts 3-0 in the third (including an empty netter).

"I thought besides the score, we played pretty well to tell you the truth," said Lightning captain Steven Stamkos. "We had a lot of scoring chances. Their goaltender made some saves. The difference was that they capitalized on their chances, especially that big line. We didn’t score on our chances, especially our line. I thought we had  some looks, but this time of year you have to capitalize."

For the Bolts, Dan Girardi and Mikhail Sergachev scored goals. But the Bolts had trouble finishing.

"They scored on pretty much every (scoring chance) they had," Cooper said. "You can’t pin that on the goaltender, to me."

Cirelli finds the going tough against Bruins./JEFFREY S. KING

Cirelli finds the going tough against Bruins./JEFFREY S. KING

“There were times we played a pretty good game and there were times there were some mental lapses," forward Tyler Johnson said. "They’re a good team.  They capitalized when they had the chances."

It was the first home loss of the playoffs for the Bolts, who now find themselves in a tough position. If each  team wins on home ice, the Bruins would take the series.

Tampa Bay stopped only 18 of 24 shots. Boston's Tuukka Rask stopped 34 of 36.

The Bolts will have to play better against Boston's top line.

“It starts by competing a little bit harder, not letting them have some time and find their options and get rolling on their plays," said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. "We certainly don't want to increase D-zone time by turning pucks over. They're a top line for a reason and obviously have a lot of confidence, so we’ve got to play them stiffer all over the ice."

 

"We did have the puck," Stamkos said. "Maybe we've got to get to the net with a little more authority.  I didn’t think it was a 6-2 game."

Said Cooper: "We lost 6-2. It doesn’t matter how we feel we played. Some will wake up in the morning and someone is going to say Tampa is down 1-0. Are there things we can build off this game? Absolutely. But they got six . In the end, we have to raise the level of our game to get back in the series."

The Bolts try to even the series Monday at 7 p.m.

Traffic was heavy in front of Vasilevskily./JEFFREY S. KING

Traffic was heavy in front of Vasilevskiy./JEFFREY S. KING

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill MYERS April 29, 2018 at 8:11 am

Rope-a-dope Gary! The Bolts win the next 4 ! GOBOLTS!

Reply

Gary Shelton April 29, 2018 at 9:48 am

Got them where you want them?

Reply

Larry Beller April 29, 2018 at 8:05 am

I know it’s only 1 game but this was a huge loss. The Lightning were rested and the Bruins should have been exhausted. Now the home ice advantage is gone.

The Bruins appear to be too big, too strong, too nasty for the Lightning and the Lightning have no answer for the Bruins big line. It will be interesting to see if Cooper shakes up the lines to try and stop them. If they don’t this could be a short series.

Reply

Gary Shelton April 29, 2018 at 9:49 am

I didn’t think they would survive the round from the start. But I do think they” make it a series. Maybe I’m being silly, which happens a lot.

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