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Key questions for Bruins, Lightning in Game 2

by Shawn P. Roarke and Corey Masisak /
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.

What can the Bruins do to be better? What will the Lightning have to do to maintain their advantage? Here's a look at six pressing questions for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals:

1. Will Tyler Seguin have a bigger impact in Game 2?

"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

If he's in the lineup -- Seguin might be a scratch if Patrice Bergeron (concussion) is cleared to play -- he should have a bigger impact. Not only does the rookie forward have a game under his belt, scoring a goal and adding an assist in Game 1, but he may see some time on the power play, which he did not in Game 1.

"I feel a lot better than I did going into last game," Seguin said Tuesday morning. "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."

2. Can Boston be better in the faceoff circle?

It's hard to imagine the Bruins can be any worse. In Game 1, they won just 26 of 67 faceoffs contested, a 39-percent conversion rate. David Krejci won just 3 of 18 draws and Rich Peverley was 6-for-16. The absence of Bergeron, who has won 62 percent of the draws he has contested this postseason, certainly hurts Boston in the circle, but the Bruins believe they can be better. It will take more effort from the wingers, as well as the centers, as the Bruins believe their success rate will climb if they win more of the "dirty" faceoffs that happen as regularly as clean wins.

3. What's wrong with Milan Lucic?

A lot, potentially. He has struggled all postseason and has just 2 goals and 5 points this postseason. That is not good enough for a player that led the team in goals and points during the regular season. Now, he may be injured as well. Lucic took a shot off his right foot during Monday's practice and was seen walking with a limp leaving TD Garden after he skipped Tuesday's morning skate. Boston coach Claude Julien, however, pronounced Lucic healthy Tuesday morning. Regardless of his health, Lucic is certainly struggling to find his game.

"It's one of those things that he's got to work his way through those kinds of things," Julien said. "When you're this far into the playoffs, you have to push these guys, and you have to encourage these guys. You have to find ways to get them going. There's nobody right now putting more pressure on those players than themselves. You know, just because he doesn't play well doesn't mean he doesn't care. To a man in that dressing room, everybody cares, everybody wants to do well. It's a matter of finding their games and then pushing themselves -- and confidence is a big part of this game."  
4. Can the Lightning be even better defensively?

Boston had just 10 shots on Roloson from inside 40 feet and only one rebound in Game 1, but Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher spent most of his team's workout Sunday working on defensive-zone coverage. Steve Downie said the team had too many breakdowns, and saw plenty of things on video to correct.

Maybe the Lightning are striving for perfection or just need something to keep an edge, because while the Bruins were able to force turnovers and keep the puck in the Tampa Bay end, they were rarely able to produce a quality scoring chance from their work.

"We played a good game -- didn't play a great game," Boucher said. "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 know that defense comes first, and it's really paid off for our team."

5. Does Tampa Bay need more offense from Steven Stamkos?

The goal-scoring slump that plagued the end of Stamkos' regular season has spilled over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has 4 goals in 12 postseason contests. Two of them -- and three of his six points -- came in an 8-2 rout against Pittsburgh in the first round.

Stamkos had a key power-play goal in the Washington series, but he also had no shots on goal and only played 16:25 in Game 1 against Boston. The Lightning are getting contributions from everywhere, which has helped mask the lack of scoring from Stamkos, but eventually they are going to need their top goal-scorer to create chances and find the back of the net. He and St. Louis did slide on the ice to block shots early in Game 1 -- something teammates pointed to as a momentum- and morale-building gesture.

"He didn't get a goal, but he filled his role of a guy that's trying to win," Boucher said of Stamkos.

6. Will it be a record-setting night for Dwayne Roloson?

The 41-year-old Roloson can break the NHL postseason record for consecutive victories by a goaltender that has reached his 40th birthday with his ninth in a row. Jacques Plante also won eight straight in 1969.

Roloson leads all goaltenders in the playoffs in goals-against average and save percentage, and held the Bruins to one goal while the outcome of Game 1 was still in question. Tampa Bay should expect a better effort by Boston to put some bodies in front and around Roloson, but unless the Bruins do a better job of cutting down on the quality scoring chances in their own end, it might not matter.
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