Weathering a tough start
Lightning able to storm back
TAMPA — Yesterday, the Bruins had the perfect start, and it had little to do with their play. When they put three first-period pucks behind Dwayne Roloson, it was because of startling errors by the Lightning.
“We just gave them — again, like the previous game in the first period — we gave them three gifts,’’ Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “Three turnovers.’’
Victor Hedman and Brett Clark, the toxic defensive pairing on the wrong end of David Krejci’s winning goal in Game 3, were at it again yesterday. Hedman, under heavy forechecking pressure from Brad Marchand behind the Lightning net, tried to reverse the puck to his partner. But Clark couldn’t handle the close exchange. Patrice Bergeron picked off the pass and scored the first of his two goals at 11:47.
Roloson played a large role in the next two goals. Michael Ryder and Chris Kelly broke out for a two-on-one against Mike Lundin. From the left wing, Ryder attempted to backhand a pass across the slot. The pass deflected off Lundin’s stick, then Ryder appeared to tap in his own rebound. But Roloson was leaning too far to his left on the play.
Boston’s third goal was a bundle of mistakes. Dennis Seidenberg was in the box for holding the stick. On the power play, Eric Brewer started a string of flubs at the left point when he whiffed on a pass to Steven Stamkos at the right point. As the puck dribbled out of the offensive zone, Stamkos tried to hinge a pass back to Brewer that Bergeron intercepted. As if the Brewer and Stamkos misplays weren’t enough, Roloson muffed a long-distance, no-traffic Bergeron shot at 17:58. Boucher promptly pulled Roloson for Mike Smith.
Both of Bergeron’s goals were unassisted. It was the first time a player had scored two unassisted goals in one period of a playoff game since the Coyotes’ Jeremy Roenick turned the trick in 1998 against the Red Wings.
“We played pretty well in the first period, not because of what the score was, but because we did the right things,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “We took that lead. The message was pretty clear. We had to continue playing the same way.’’
The Bruins did not.
Traffic report As expected, the Lightning sent pucks and people to the Boston net for the entire game. The increase in traffic wasn’t lost on Tim Thomas, whose fiery temper flashed several times in the first period.
Early on, Thomas took several whacks at Adam Hall after the fourth-line forward jabbed at a puck. Later in the first, Dominic Moore nearly ran Thomas over during a scramble at the top of the crease. Thomas complained to referee Dan O’Halloran, but no call was made.
“Some of the players talked about it,’’ Boucher said of disrupting Thomas’s game. “He did say that it was an easy game to play against us last game. Obviously, a lot of the guys were very fired up for this game. Certainly, I did hear it in the locker room, for sure.’’
Role player Rich Peverley started the series centering the third line. In Game 2, Peverley moved up to center the second line. By Game 3, Peverley was skating in Shawn Thornton’s spot on the fourth line. Yesterday, Peverley started on the fourth line, but soon found himself skating in other positions.
Appropriately, for a player replacing Thornton, Peverley took on some enforcing duties at the end of the first. After a scrum in front of Thomas, Peverley squared off with Marc-Andre Bergeron, and the two engaged in a lightweight bout.
By the third, when the lines proved they were doing next to nothing, Peverley replaced Brad Marchand on the second line for a shift. The following shift, Peverley took Mark Recchi’s place on the opposite wing. By the end of the third, Peverley was centering Ryder and Nathan Horton.
Lost opportunity The Bruins had two power plays in the second period when they had a 3-0 lead. They started the second on the power play because Steve Downie had been called for roughing at the end of the first. Then at 3:52, Simon Gagne was called for goalie interference.
As usual, the Bruins came up short. Had they scored on either power play, they could have put even more heat on the Lightning.
Downie down The Lightning lost Downie at 17:25 of the second to an undisclosed injury. Horton cranked Downie into the wall and was called for boarding. Downie was called for diving, but never went to the penalty box. Instead, he went to the dressing room with help from his teammates and never returned . . . Vincent Lecavalier won 14 of 21 faceoffs for the Lightning . . . O’Halloran was shaken up in the first when he got in the way of Patrice Bergeron. O’Halloran stayed on the ice, naturally . . . Willie O’Ree will be honored with the Hockey Legacy Award at The Tradition, the annual fund-raiser for The Sports Museum June 28 at TD Garden. O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier while playing for the Bruins on Jan. 18, 1958. For more information, visit www.sportsmuseum.org.