After two games that often looked like track meets, the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning reverted to some old-time defensive hockey in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.
Tampa Bay played great shut-down defense, but one early mistake changed the whole tenor of the game and helped the Bruins to a 2-0 victory, spoiling the night for more than 21,000 fans who packed the St. Pete Times Forum for the Lightning's first conference final game since 2004. David Krejci scored 69 seconds into the game after a blown coverage in front of the net left him all alone. Tim Thomas stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Bruins took a 2-1 series lead.
The action moves West on Friday, with San Jose hoping a return to the Shark Tank will improve its fortunes after a pair of losses at Vancouver.
As we head for the weekend, here's your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Lightning's offense disappears
After putting up 10 goals in the first two games in Boston, Tampa Bay's offense was absent in Game 3, disappointing a full house of 21,027 at the St. Pete Times Forum. Corey Masisak writes that while the Lightning paid tribute to Boston's hard work, they felt their own work rate wasn't nearly good enough.
Bergeron looks like he never left
Patrice Bergeron returned to Boston's lineup Thursday after missing Games 1 and 2 while recovering from a concussion -- and looked right at home. Shawn P. Roarke was among the media members who talked with Bergeron after his successful return.
Canucks keep their cool
What's separating this year's Vancouver Canucks from previous editions that couldn't get this far in the playoffs? One big thing is discipline. As Dan Rosen reports, the Canucks have been a much more composed team this spring, and keeping their cool is translating into wins.
Rest a boon for the Sedins
Beating Nashville in six games in the conference semifinals especially was helpful for the Sedins, who didn't have a good series against the Predators. Dhiren Mahiban reports that some extra time off seems to have put the pep back in the step of the NHL's twin terrors.
Sharks need more from a lot of players
San Jose coach Todd McLellan wasn't naming names when he said several Sharks needed to step up for his team to have a chance to overtake Vancouver in the Western Conference Finals. But as Eric Gilmore writes, it doesn't take much more than a look at the score sheets from Games 1 and 2 to figure out who McLellan has in mind.
Quick watches and wonders
Jonathan Quick is an interested spectator in this year's playoffs. As David Kalan notes, however, Quick and his Los Angeles teammates can't help feeling that they, not San Jose, could be in the Western Conference Finals after they lost to the Sharks in six games in the first round -- a series that saw them lose three times in overtime.