After the Bruins barely held on to win 6-5 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2, they won in a much more
convincing fashion in Game 3, helping Tim Thomas to a 2-0 shutout. The Bruins now lead the series 2-1.
Since the onset of the series, the two teams have tried to figure out each other’s style of play and how to beat it.Even though Game 1 seemed as though Boston made no adjustments to adapt to Tampa’s trap, Games 2 and 3 have shown progression in solving the Lightning.
Meanwhile for the Lightning, Game 3 showed that Tampa might be feeling a bit too obligated to stick to their trap to avoid goals, even when it is not working as planned. In later portions of the game, the Lightning finally began to get a little more aggressive on their forecheck, but were left exposed defensively. Tightening up in the middle would have worked for them, but that’s where they will need to find a good blend of their trap style and a bit of offense.
With a 2-1 series lead, the Bruins seem to have the upper hand not only in wins but overall. While keeping Tyler Seguin in the lineup, Patrice Bergeron returned to NHL action Thursday, adding a boost for faceoffs and for confidence. Milan Lucic, who had been almost invisible for the Bruins this series, finally notched an assist on David Krecji’s goal.
Finally, after Boston’s defense failed to hold a 6-2 lead and allowed three third period goals, they kept the Lightning off the board the entire game. The shutout was more in part due to Thomas standing on his head (almost literally), stopping all 31 shots, even when the Lightning upped the ante in the third period.
The Lightning will need to use their stars’ offense a little more. With the exception of Game 2 when everyone’s best got in the action, players like Steven Stamkos have been relatively quiet and shut down. Also, just as the Bruins made adjustments to their game to better beat Tampa’s trap, the Lightning will need to prepare to do the same, as Thomas could get in a zone now with his recent shutout. One fun tidbit to take note of, however, is that the last time the Lightning were shutout in the playoffs, they won the Stanley Cup.
Game 4 will be in Tampa Bay on May 21, Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on NBC and TSN.