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Bruins v Lightning - 2011 Stanley Cup Conference Finals

Quick marvels over competitiveness of Thomas

David Kalan - Staff Writer

Any discussion of Conn Smythe contenders in this postseason has to include Boston goalie Tim Thomas. With nine wins and an impressive 2.39 goals-against average and .927 save percentage, Thomas has not just been a steady rock for the Bruins. He has come up with the occasional momentum-shifting save that completely changes the outcome of games and series.

Tuesday night Thomas made a handful of those saves, including a huge breakaway stop on Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone just over six minutes into the second period, in Boston's series-evening 6-5 Game 2 win over the Bolts.

Moulson offers insight on Roloson's success

Emily Kaplan - Staff Writer

Matt Moulson knows many people can't figure just how Dwayne Roloson, at age 41, has led a resurgent Tampa Bay Lightning team to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The New York Islanders forward and former teammate of Roloson doesn't quite know, either.

"Maybe he's just like a fine wine," Moulson said. "He just gets better with age. Or something like that."

Moulson certainly believes Roloson has improved with experience. And he's hardly surprised by the goaltender's astounding success with the Lightning in his 14th NHL season.

Seguin's four points lead Bruins past Lightning

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTONTyler Seguin was worth the wait

Despite urging to the contrary, Boston coach Claude Julien tried his hardest to shelter the precocious Bruins rookie, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2010 Entry Draft. After Seguin posted just 22 points in the regular season – struggling mightily down the stretch – Julien did not want to feed the first-year pro to the playoff wolves that make the spring a most dangerous season for the uninitiated.

Yet, when Patrice Bergeron went down in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Julien's hand was forced when Round 3 began. He had to put Seguin in the lineup, albeit reluctantly.

To say that the results have been stunning would be an understatement.

Bolts' defensive structure springs some leaks

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- For eight straight playoff games, the Tampa Bay Lightning befuddled opponents with their system in the neutral zone and frustrated them further with strong defensive play in their own end.

Just as the Lightning's streak of eight straight wins came to an end in a 6-5 loss to Boston in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, so too did their stretch of sound defensively work.

"We didn't stick to our structure," center Steven Stamkos said. "That wins us games and that makes us lose games. Whether we are on or we're off, that's the difference in the game. Give them credit -- they came out strong and played well, but we shouldn't have put ourselves in that position."
Coach Guy Boucher said his team had a bad night after eight games of excellent hockey.

Ryder plays supporting role for Bruins

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON -- On most playoff nights, scoring a pair of goals – including the game-winner – and adding an assist would be good enough to earn First-Star honors.

On Tuesday night at TD Garden, however, Michael Ryder did just that and had to settle for being the Third Star in Boston’s wild 6-5 victory to end Tampa Bay’s winning streak at eight games and even the Eastern Conference Finals series at 1-1.

That’s because Ryder was a bit lost in the shadow of linemate Tyler Seguin, who exploded for two goals and two assists in just his second playoff game. Seguin is the first teenager since Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks in 1989 to have four points in a playoff game.

Ryder, Seguin and center Chris Kelly combined for four goals, including one on a normally dormant power play, in Boston’s five-goal second period as the home team erased a 2-1 deficit.

But, Ryder was OK taking a spot in the shadows on this night. 

Stamkos: 'We have to play our game'

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Steven Stamkos had one of his best offensive games of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Tampa Bay Lightning lost a wild game 6-5 to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden.

Stamkos had his fifth goal of this postseason, a wicked wrist shot in the third period to beat Boston goalie Tim Thomas. He also had two assists and helped create numerous chances.

He was also on the ice for three of Boston's four even-strength goals Tuesday night. Here's what Stamkos had to say after the game.

Bruins' Bergeron to miss Game 2

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON – Injured Boston forward Patrice Bergeron will not play in Tuesday night's crucial Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Bergeron did not take part in the pre-game warmups, all but confirming his absence against the Lightning, who lead the best-of-7 series after Saturday's 5-2 victory.

"As far as Bergeron is concerned; if he is in, I think you will see him in warmups," Boston coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday’s morning preparations.

Bergeron has not played since last Friday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, suffering a concussion on a hit by Philadelphia's Claude Giroux. But, he has skated in each of the past four days with no reported setbacks.

Key questions for Bruins, Lightning in Game 2

Shawn P. Roarke and Corey Masisak - Staff Writers

"I feel a lot better than I did going into last game. As last game went on, I started feeling a lot better and I feel a lot better from last night going into today, keeping my nerves in check."
-- Tyler Seguin

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins got their first look Saturday at the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning, and it didn't go any better for them than it did for the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins.

Tampa Bay stole home-ice advantage with a 5-2 victory at TD Garden in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Now the Bruins will be looking to salvage a split at home Tuesday night in Game 2, while the Lightning will be trying to take control of a series away from St. Pete Times Forum for the second straight round.

None of the Lightning's top players had goals, but their depth continued to be a big story in Game 1. The Bruins had trouble finding quality scoring chances against Tampa Bay, and they'll need more than one rebound on net to have a chance against veteran Dwayne Roloson.

Bruins not ruling out Bergeron for Game 2

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

BOSTON -- Injured Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron has not been ruled out for a Game 2 appearance Tuesday night.

"As far as Bergeron is concerned, if he is in, I think you will see him in warm-ups," Boston coach Claude Julien said after Tuesday's morning preparations for Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Asked if he knew if Bergeron was playing and was withholding that information for competitive advantage, Julien refused comment.

Bergeron has not played since last Friday's Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, suffering a concussion on a hit by Claude Giroux. But he has skated each of the past four days with no reported setbacks.

Wholesale transformation makes Lightning winners

Corey Masisak - Staff Writer

BOSTON -- For three years the Tampa Bay Lightning languished outside the postseason picture and one, simple statistic was the biggest reason amongst many others for a franchise in turmoil -- goals against.

The Lightning finished in the bottom four of the NHL in goals against each year, yielding an average of 3.20 goals per game during the three-year span. How the franchise has risen from off-ice tumult to stability in such a short span has mirrored the on-ice ability to prevent goals, and in turn helped the Lightning move to within seven victories of claiming the Stanley Cup.

There are many reasons why goal prevention has become such a strength for the Lightning, and why the club has improved so dramatically -- not just from last season but from the start of this one as well.

"It is tough to compare the last couple of years to this year," Steven Stamkos said. "We've had so many changes. We had brand new structure, brand new players, the coaching staff -- everything is different. It wouldn't be fair to compare that, but from Day One [of this season] to here, it is almost night and day. It is the same structure, but it is about us getting better at it each and every day."
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