The Boston Bruins took the first game in, what is sure to be, a hard fought series last night and there was a lot to like for Bruins fans coming from this win. If you read the article we wrote (Top Ten Keys for the Bruins to Win the Series https://northernlightssports.com/2020/08/23/bruins-lighting-round-2-our-top-10-keys-for-the-bruins-to-win-the-series/ ) they pretty much did all these things. And Still the game ended up being a one goal nail biter down the stretch. Strap yourself in ladies and gentlemen, this series is going to be a beauty!
-The Bruins opened the scoring late in the 1st (18:52) when Brandon Carlo sends a high shot on net that Charlie Coyle masterfully tips by Andrei Vasilevskiy. 1-0 BRUINS
-The Bruins go to the power play early in the 2nd period and the top unit (Bergeron-Marchand-Pastrnak-Krejci-Krug) work the puck in the Tampa Bay end for nearly a minute and a half before Krejci makes a beautiful crash ice pass to Pasta in his office on the left faceoff circle. No mistake. 2-0 BRUINS
-The Bruins open the 3rd, and the top line is at it again. Bergeron strips the puck from Ryan McDonagh trying to skate out from beside the Tampa net. Quick pass to Pasta-quick pass to Marchand and he buries it into the open side 1:17 into the frame. Perfection. 3-0 BRUINS
–Tampa bounces back at 8:50 of the 3rd when Victor Hedman sends a floater in from the point the deflects off Charlie McAvoy and handcuffs Jaroslav Halak in close. 3-1 BRUINS
–Hedman does it again at 18:46. Another soft shot from the point that….yep…hits Charlie McAvoy in close and slips by Jaro. 3-2 BRUINS
The Bruins have the recipe for success if they can continue to play like this.
-Their top line was the best line on the ice all night. They sustained pressure, retrieved pucks, cycled and kept the Tampa on their heels. Marchand was feisty and chirping every Lightning player within earshot. Bergeron was an artist with his stick work down low and positioning on both ends. Pastrnak scored a text book goal, as well as made a beautiful quick pass for Marchy. Poetry in motion when it works. And it was working.
-The 2nd line, even though they didn’t get on the score sheet, played very well, and created some really good scoring chances. Ondrej Kase continues to play so well on this line, though he might feel be a bit snake bitten having missed a number of really good chances. Krejci is the key to this lines success, and even though they seen a bit less time than they normally would (protecting a lead as opposed to a need for scoring) they looked good in their spots.
-The third line anchored by Charlie Coyle was ever changing and dynamic. They were able to chip in a goal and stay on the ice. Nick Ritchie (9:32) and Anders Bjork (8:58) saw the least amount of ice time as Coach Bruce Cassidy used Kuraly on the 3rd line in spots and did a masterful job of creating good matchups on the fly, without last change.
-The fourth line was really good. You don’t see it on the score sheet, but they worked this game and did a great job in their matchups against a potent Tampa offence. The entire line- Kuraly (17:12)- Wagner(13:34)-Nordstrom (15:31) had more time on the ice than DeBrusk (10:57) and Kase (11:17). Cassidy has confidence in their abilities, especially in protecting a lead. Great to see
–Halak was outstanding. He made 35 stops and kept the Bruins in front in the 2nd when Tampa played their best hockey, making 18 stops in that frame. The two goals he let in, he really had no chance on. A lot of traffic in front and just bad bounces in close that are just part of the game. He looked poised and confident in net. An all around win here.
INTERESTING GAME NOTES:
–Halak becomes the 1st Bruins Goalie 35 or older to win 4 playoff games in a row since Tim Thomas (he won 5 in a row). Anytime we are reminded of playoff Tim Thomas, that is a good thing.
-With the his assist, David Krejci extends his playoff point scoring streak to 7 games. Who doesn’t love a good streaker?
-The Boston Bruins are 28-2 in the playoffs when Brad Marchand scores. Has to be the last person opposing teams want to see score. Keep lighting that lamp Marchy!
A QUICK LOOK AHEAD
This lineup looked very successful. Nick Ritchie played physical in his limited minutes, which might have been the most glaring chance for a change. With games 2 and 3 on back to back nights I would look for Cassidy to make some changes in the lineup in the next two games, especially for game 3 when the Bruins will be the home team and have last change. He will be able to create some of the matchups he likes better and better protect players getting caught in bad situations. Studnicka in for Bjork wouldn’t be a surprise as Anders as looked a little off the last couple.
Enjoy the day Bruins fans. Spend some time with the spouses, significant others, family, pets…whatever. Tuesday and Wednesday evening are all booked up. LETS GO BRUINS!