After losing Game 1 on home ice with a rather tepid effort, everyone expected a much more determined outing by the Bruins on Tuesday. What they got was the Tyler Seguin show.
Seguin, 19 and playing just his second playoff game, was only in the lineup due to Patrice Bergeron's continued recovery from a concussion. The teen sensation scored twice and set up two more, all during a five-goal second period for the Bruins. Boston won 6-5, sending the Eastern Conference Final to Tampa with the series tied 1-1.
The Bruins' resolve got an early test when Adam Hall gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead just 13 seconds in. The B's also survived surrendering a goal with 19 seconds remaining in the first. In between, they pelted Dwayne Roloson with 18 shots, counting once on a Nathan Horton power-play goal.
Despite Tampa's late score, the Bruins gained control of the game with three tallies in the first 6:30 of the second period. Vinny Lecavalier tossed in a power-play goal to make it 4-3 in a wild and wide-open 20 minutes, but that was a mere interlude to Seguin's showcase. He led a blitz en route to a 6-3 advantage after 40-minutes.
The Bruins' gaudy goal surge came on only nine shots, and they actually gave up more quality chances, and 15 shots in all, while the puck was flying in the net at the other end.
Tim Thomas stopped three clear-cut breakaways in the second period alone and five overall. So, the Bruins did establish their forecheck -- a point of emphasis coming into Game 2. But it came at a cost. Pressing up proved to be effective, yet it also left Boston vulnerable to quick stretch passes up the middle. The result was there, so the end justified the means, but this game provided plenty of material for both coaches to dissect before Game 3 in Tampa on Thursday night.
HACKEL:Adjustments are crucial in this series.
The third period alone will give Bruins coach Claude Julien enough footage for multiple meetings. The B's sat back, turned the puck over in the neutral zone and played soft in front of Thomas. None of the up-ice energy they exuded through the first two periods was present.
A Steven Stamkos wrist shot rocketed over the right shoulder of Thomas from 30 feet out. With a little over six minutes left, the Bolts cashed in again, on a chaotic crease scramble, banking the puck off a facemask-less Thomas to cut the lead to 6-5.
Thomas continued to battle. Altering between soft goal and sensational save, his erratic play was the parable for this game in total: less than perfect, energetic and ridiculously entertaining.
1. Tyler Seguin, Bruins: Energy, enthusiasm and a much-needed offensive boost, Seguin was electric in the second period with two goals and two assists. Talk about making the most of an opportunity, Seguin sat through the first two rounds and played like a guy who never wants to be a healthy scratch ever again.
2. David Krejci, Bruins: He continued as a dangerous player entering the offensive zone -- a return to form that began in the conference semis. He scored a goal, Ryder scored twice, Horton once, but Krejci played a complete game as a penalty killer and face-off factor, taking 25 draws and going 5-of-9 in the defensive zone, standing in for the injured Bergeron.
3. Tim Thomas, Bruins: I know, I know. Vincent Lecavalier, Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis all played extremely well for the Lightning. But this game for Thomas was old school in winning 6-5. He was phenomenal down the stretch especially. He won without his best stuff and handled a crazy multitude of quality chances over the final 40 minutes. The old goalie in me has a soft spot for a performance like this. Apologies to the aforementioned Lightning, who all warranted star status.