When you win the Presidents’ Trophy by a comfortable margin, you’re probably doing more than one thing right. The Bruins put multiple strengths on display in winning Game 1 3-2 against the Lightning, thus taking a 1-0 series lead.
Halak, power play, star power make difference for Bruins vs. Lightning in Game 1
Maybe chalk it up to the “feeling-out process,” but most of the first period of Bruins – Lightning Game 1 was pretty quiet. Despite getting a power play almost immediately, the Lightning weren’t quite clicking early on.
Then, late in the first period, Charlie Coyle took advantage of some nice work from Brad Marchand to deflect a 1-0 goal past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay found its game in the second period, but a nice David Krejci pass opened up a power-play goal for David Pastrnak. While the Lightning managed an 18-7 shots on goal advantage, that Pastrnak goal was the only tally of the second period.
Even so, the Lightning had to feel at least a little bit heartened by improved play … until a spirit-breaking play to open the third.
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After Brad Marchand created a bit of havoc, Patrice Bergeron took the puck from Ryan McDonagh, then Pastrnak immediately sent another great pass to Marchand for the 3-0 goal. Sometimes star players make game-breaking plays, and the Bruins’ “Perfection Line” accomplishes that time and time again.
If fans were bummed out about a lack of drama once the score was 3-0, Victor Hedman and the Lightning triggered a late push. Hedman scored two goals during the third period, with the first happening midway through, and a second happening with Tampa Bay’s net empty. In each case, Charlie McAvoy was unlucky enough to deflect both Hedman goals past Jaroslav Halak.
Even with those two Hedman tallies in mind, Halak was fantastic in Game 1. He made 35 saves, looking like more than just a Plan B for Tuukka Rask. The Lightning must find ways to get to Halak sooner, and if they can’t totally smother the Bruins’ top scorers, they’ll at least need to make it more of an even battle.
No. 2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 Boston Bruins (BOS leads series 1-0)
Game 1: Bruins 3, Lightning 2
Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 4: Friday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET – USA Network
*Game 5: Sunday, Aug. 30 – TBD
*Game 6: Tuesday, Sept. 1 – TBD
*Game 7: Wednesday, Sept. 2 – TBD
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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.