NHL Playoff Game Night: 5/19/11 Bruins at Lightning
Boston found their defense and the Lightning looked flat as a pancake in the final 40 minutes.
Boston Leads the Series 2-1
Dwayne Roloson allowed 2 goals on 25 shots for the loss. He just didn't get the goal support, obviously, tonight.
01:09 BOS Krejci (7), Lucic (4), Boychuk (2)
08:12 BOS Ference (2), unassisted
I have no answer for why the Lightning offense completely dried up in the final 40 minutes of this game. Yes, the Bruins played much better defensively than they did in Game 1 and Game 2 (not hard to do), but the Lightning were generating chances in the 1st Period and it all dried up the rest of the way. The Lightning just looked flat, and I don't understand it. If it had been the whole game, I'd say the Lightning tried too hard to emotionally tamp down and get back in their system after what happened in Game 2. Bottom line is that its very hard to beat Tim Thomas on just a paltry handful of scoring chances every period. You have to generate pressure consistently, because you know that guy's going to get 1 or 2 a lot of other goaltenders wouldn't.
Defensively, I didn't think the Lightning played all that poorly. Yes, there was an obvious mistake on the first goal, but the odd man rushes and breakaways were largely corrected and the penalty kill got back to being excellent. By in large, I'd take that defensive effort on most nights. I thought the power play was slightly off, but even slightly off they were generating 2 or 3 good scoring chances on every power play, so I can't complain too much. It's just the 5-on-5 play was not there, and 5-on-5 tends to be about effort and tactics. Tactics were there, so I suppose the effort needs to increase.
Game 4 becomes critical, obviously. The Lightning need to put together that well rounded effort like they did in Game 1. We'll have to see if the Lightning raise their intensity again if the Bruins defense holds up to the challenge. I suspect it won't, but I confess to having a little doubt after the final 40 minutes tonight. I really am a little shocked, because the way the first 2 games went, I was very confident the Lightning would handle their business in Game 3.
Blair Jones had 2 hits in 5:17. He did well, but I wonder if Dana Tyrell might be a better option in this series because of his speed, if he's healthy and in shape to go. I think Boston's blueliners are a lot like the Lightning's. They're big and physical, but if you get into them fast on the forecheck they can be a little sloppy handling it and moving it.