Big Foot. The Lock Ness Monster. Bruins Fan Who Stayed For The Final 5 Minutes of Game One.
Tampa Bay Leads the Series 1-0
Dwayne Roloson allowed 2 goals on 33 shots for the victory. That must've seemed like light work compared to most of the Capitals series. Boston was kept to the perimeter and Roli was getting a good look at everything his skaters didn't block in front of him.
11:15 TB Bergenheim (8), Moore (7), Hedman (4)
11:34 TB Clark (1), unassisted
12:40 TB Purcell (2), unassisted
15:59 BOS Seguin (1), Ryder (4), Peverley (6)
13:37 TB Bergeron (2), Clark (1), St Louis (8)(PP)
17:29 TB Gagne (3), Purcell (11)(EN)
18:59 BOS Boychuk (3), Seguin (1)
Dominic Moore, Brett Clark, and Roloson were the game's three stars.
That was a clinic. Have mercy. Yes, one of the Lightning goals was a softie by Thomas. Yes, another was off a cheap giveaway. But, were it not for some great saves by Thomas and some luck, the Lightning would have put up a snowman in this game. With the exception of the last 6 or 7 minutes of the 1st, the Lightning were in complete control of the tempo and in complete control strategically.
Memo to Claude Julien: you're playing chess with Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov, and Deep Blue all rolled into one. Good luck to you on that. Guy Boucher spent over a week in the lab preparing for the game, and the strategy he rolled out left Julien scratching his... hair? Boucher switched seamlessly between a 2 man forecheck and the 1-3-1 and he absolutely was in Boston's heads by the end of the 2nd. Forget Big Foot and the Lock Ness Monster. Julien could've been called the "Bewilder Beast" behind the Bruins bench, as completely lost as he looked. Boucher's system is starting to have its own mystique, just like Scotty Bowman's Left Wing Lock and Jacques Lemaire's Neutral Zone Trap. And, let me tell you, when a team's system starts to have that mystique, a 1 goal deficit for the opponent starts to feel like a 2 goal deficit, a 2 goal deficit like 3, and a 3 goal deficit feels like an absolute death sentence. And, for the Lightning to have a new wrinkle where they can switch between a tenacious forecheck and the quicksand of the 1-3-1 at the wave of Boucher's hand seems almost unfair. That's like a pitcher in baseball being able to throw a 95 mph fastball and chasing it with an 80 mph change up with the exact same arm motion. Untouchable.
Why else do we love Guy Boucher? Because he showed class to a team that showed no class at the end of the game by throwing Nate Thompson and Mike Lundin onto the power play rather than trying to run up the score. Make no mistake, the analog sucker punches of Nathan Horton on Dominic Moore and Milan Lucic on Victor Hedman were an absolutely disgusting display of sportsmanship. After playing a game where, frankly, Boston looked a heck of a lot softer than I expected, to finish it out by trying to goon it up shows zero class. Lucic isn't going to get suspended for his sucker punch, but is there any doubt in any Lightning fan's mind that Steve Downie would be, in the same scenario?
Oh, how sweet was it to see all those empty yellow seats in the last 5 minutes of play from all those Bruins fans bailing out of the arena early. Too funny. Bruins fans booing their own power play was also illuminating. Yes, clearly Boston fans are so much better than Tampa Bay fans. I am convinced that Northern hockey fan is much better than I am. They certainly acted like it tonight, right down to the half dozen who were left at the end of the game who were throwing things at Dwayne Roloson at the final buzzer. I'll say it again: no wonder Phil Esposito doesn't give a damn about Boston anymore. That team and those fans acted like clowns tonight. They deserved to lose on general principle for that, let alone athleticism or strategy.
Now Guy Boucher gets 2 more days in his travel lab deep beneath the Lightning's team hotel. Be afraid, Claude Julien, be very afraid. Seriously, though, the Lightning have a big time opportunity in Game 2 to seize the series by the throat, but expect a more physical effort by the Bruins and expect them to try to play more below the faceoff dots in the Lightning zone, which is where they have to play to be successful in this series. If they play on the perimeter like they did tonight, the Lightning are going beat the tar out of them, and all the sucker punches in the world won't save the Bruins.
Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.
And now: bull riding on Versus!