Big story: Tampa Bay struck first in this best-of-7 series, stealing a road win and home-ice advantage with a clinical 5-2 victory Saturday night. The Lightning used a three-goal outburst during an 85-second rampage in the first period of the game to take control of the game and slowly suck the life out of the Bruins, who did not score their second goal -- on a deflection -- until the dying minutes of the game. The win gave Tampa its eighth-straight victory in the playoffs. Boston, however, has opened a series with a loss at home this postseason. In fact, they lost the first two games to Montreal at the Garden in Round 1 before winning in seven games.
Lightning: Nobody has been hotter than the Lightning, who have won eight straight games, a stretch that has seen them earn victories against the fourth-seeded Penguins, the top-seeded Capitals and, now, the third-seeded Bruins. Tampa won Game 1 in clinical fashion, converting on turnovers on two of the three goals during that 85-second outburst in the first and playing a sound, stifling defensive game that frustrated Boston at almost every turn. Tampa was technically sound in every facet of the game. The Lightning got a power-play goal (in five tries), killed all four man-advantage situations they faced, dominated in the faceoff circle (61 percent), blocked a ton of shots and virtually eliminated Boston’s second-chance opportunities.
As good as the Lightning were, though, they know they will need to be better in Game 2.
"They're a really good team," coach Guy Boucher said of the Bruins. "They came out hard. They're going to come out harder the next game. I'm expecting (Patrice) Bergeron to be in the lineup. I know Tim Thomas is going to make miracles. I'll be shocked if he doesn't come out with his best game of the playoffs.
"They got a lot of pride. They came back in the first series from two games. I mean, it's only one game. We've done nothing yet."
Bruins: Boston couldn't imagine a much worse start to a series. Fortunately, the Bruins have some experience in dealing with such starts. They came out flat and uninspired in the first two games against Montreal and lost both games before finding their stride and winning four of the next five games against the Canadiens.
Saturday night, the Bruins were done in by their own mistakes. A bad turnover by rookie Tyler Seguin and a coverage breakdown by Dennis Seidenberg led to the first goal by Tampa. Nineteen seconds later, Tampa scored again after defenseman Tomas Kaberle turned the puck over behind his own net. The third goal was the result of a blown defensive coverage and goal No. 4 came on a power play after Johnny Boychuk took a retaliatory penalty. In the offensive end, Boston missed with too many shots and saw countless others blocked by an aggressive Tampa defense.
"Well, it was a lot of little breakdowns,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "We kind of gave them those goals to score in the first period, and that's not us and we all know that. And we just have to clean that up and we’ll be fine.
"I mean, we are disappointed, obviously, we lost the first game, but it doesn't really matter. A loss is a loss. We just have to look ahead again to next game and again we just have to stay positive. It's a long series."
Who's hot: Nobody is hotter than Sean Bergenheim, who scored the game-opening goal Saturday night. He now has a playoff-best 8 goals and has scored six in his past seven outings. He had just 14 goals in the regular season. The Lightning are also hot as a team. They have won eight straight games, the longest run since Detroit won nine games in a row on the way to the 2008 title. The record for consecutive playoff wins by a team in one season is 11, accomplished three times.
Injury report: Boston is still without Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a concussion in Game 4 against Philadelphia. He did not play in Game 1.
He may play in Game 2, though, after practicing with the team for the first time Monday afternoon. After practice, Boston coach Claude Julien said Bergeron was just following concussion protocol. But when asked if Bergeron was out for Game 2, Julien said he did not know.
For Tampa Bay, Simon Gagne returned after a three-game layoff and had an immediate impact for the Lightning.
Defenseman Pavel Kubina, who also has an upper-body injury, missed Game 1, and likely will not be ready for Game 2.
Stat pack: Boston's power-play is an abysmal 2-for-41 for the postseason, going 0-for-4 Saturday night. … Tampa Bay won 61 percent of the faceoffs in Game 1. Boston's David Krejci had an especially brutal night, winning just 3 of 18 draws. … Road teams are 38-33 this postseason. … The team that has won Game 1 this postseason has won nine of the 12 series played so far.
Puck drop: "Well, I think we were a little rusty the first game. I know we've won, but for us we feel that we didn't," Boucher said. "We played a good game. Didn't play a great game. I really didn't like our defensive-zone coverage at all. That was one thing that had been really good the last two series and it was just OK, average at best, the last game. So we worked on that. We're certainly far from being great or perfect. And so we have to be a lot better next game, a lot better."