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Tampa Bay vs. Boston Game 1 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke
20:00 That's it. No goal on 5-on-3 and game ends with 5-2 win for Tampa. See you Tuesday for Game 2.

Milan Lucic just sent a message for Game 2 with a big hit on Steve downie and then a cross check on Victor Hedman. Lucic earned a two and 10 for the outburst, as did Nathan Horton for something that happened in ensuing scrum. Tampa has 5-on-3 for rest of game.

Boston saves a little face, scoring a goal off a redirection. Tyler Seguin made it happen with some work in the corner and a pass to the point where Johnny Boychuk fired a shot off the skate off a a player in front. The goal was credited to Chris Kelly. Seguin has a goal and an assist in playoff debut. Goal, BOS 2-5.

Claude Julien makes the rather odd decision to pull Tim Thomas with 2:40 left and Tampa Bay immediately makes Boston pay as Simon Gagne scores into the empty net. Ted Purcell had the primary assist and he now has 11 assists this postseason. Goal, TBL 5-1.

This is going to be eight-straight wins for Tampa Bay, which is an impressive run at any time. But, this has come in the playoffs against the No. 4, No. 1 and No. 3 seeds in the East. Until you see them in person and can watch whole ice, it is hard to appreciate just how suffocating and frustrating they can be. They have allowed 30 shots in this game, but less than 10 have come from inise the circles. Boston just can't penetrate the prime areas in the attacking zone. The Bruins will have a lot to work on in next 48 hours.

Simon Gagne gets the ultimate payback as he helps set up PP gaol. It was his screen on Tim Thomas that allowed Marc Andre Bergeron to rifle a slapper past Tim Thomas, who reacted quite late. Goal, TAM 4-1.

The Lightning are going to get sick of Johnny Boychuk pretty quick. He just freight-trained his second Lightning player in this game. This time it was Simon Gagne who he bowled over with a clean hit. Unfortunately, he took a swing at Vinny Lecavalier when the Tampa captain intervened. Boychuk was whistled for roughing.

This is Boston's best period, but they have nothing to show for it. Tampa Bay is like a patient fighter, absorbing the best froim an opponent to ferret out an opening and then pounce on it. Boston has dictated play for much of peeriod, but Thomas has had to make huge saves on Simon Gagne and Vinny Lecavalier against the run of play.

Bruins are trying to get moire into Dwayne Roloson's kitchen and rattlke hisd pots and pans a bit. Milan Lucic just poked late at Roloson, drawing the attention of several Lightning players, including Roloson. Plus, Vinny Lecavalier goes for slashing. Boston is 0-for-3 on PP, though.

Boston's early momentum has been blunted. two highlighTs in past three minutes were a rare Tyler Seguin sighting, during which he used his speed to create a scoring chance and then went hard to the net and a clinical hip check by Johnny Boychuk that sent Steven Stamkos head over heels.

Boston has jump to start third, but Dwayne Roloson has opened with 3 saves, including two on Shawn Thornton. This has been Thornton's best game and Claude Julien is using the fourth line more than usual, but that is because third lIne is not getting many looks. Tyler Seguin had just two shifts in second period.

Start of third period

End of second period, TBL 3, BOS 1; Shots: TBL 23, BOS 20

We're done with two periods here and it remains 3-1. Boston only had 8 shots in the period and 3 came on power plays. Bruins have to find way to generate more against suffocating Tampa defense.

No dice for Bruins on PP, but it was there best one of the night. Both Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference had excellent chances from the point. It seemed Kaberle saw less time on that PP. It should be noted, though, that Adam Hall, the man in the box, is one of Tampa's best PK men.

Bruins may not come back and win this game, but Tim Thomas is sending a message to both teams that there will not be many more bad goals by him. He just made a sick, scrambling glove save on Steve Downie off a Tampa Bat faceoff win. Downie thought he had a sure goal. Now Boston goes on its third PP as David Krejci used some sick stickhandling to force Adam Hall to take a tripping penalty.

Trading penalties is not going to help Bruins as they try to erase a two-goal deficit, but that is what is happening. Chris Kelly just took a defensive-zone penalty and Tampa's power-play maestro's get another chance on power play.

Boston had a nother power play chance with Brewer in box for tripping, but couldn't generate anything. Zdeno Chara had the only shot late in the PP and it was a slapper from bad angle. Tomas Kaberle tried two shots and both missed by at least 15 feet. Maybe him shooting from point is nopt solution to PP woes for Boston, who is now 2-for-39 in postseason.

Guy Boucher just had the Big 3 together and it turned into a great chance as Vinny Lecavalier hit Marty St. Louis with a nice head-man pass that allowed St. Louis to beat the defense wide and get off testing shot against Tim Thomas, who was equal to the task. In case you have not heard, Thomas and St. Louis played togther at the University of Vermont.

Practice has not helped. Boston can't even gain the zone with confidence and never got a shot off. A struggling PP is unlikely to get healthy against Tampa Bay, which has killed 92 percent of its man-disadvantage situations so far.

Boston kills the penalty, giving up just 3 shots, 2 from the blue line. Even better, Steve Downie takes an offensive-zone interference penalty just as Paille penalty expired. Now, Boston has a PP and the chance to show that 8 days of practice has benefitted the man-advantage unit, which has just 2 goals this postseason.

1:29 Not the start Boston wanted as Dan Paille goes for a defensive zone trip. Now we get to see Tampa Bay's vaunted power play, which could be a difference-maker in this series. Tampa Bay has 12 power play goals in 45 attempts, the most goals on the PP in the postseason.

Start of second period

End of first, TBL 3, BOS 1; Shots: TBL 10, BOS 12.

End of a stunning first period. An 85-second meltdown has Boston in a good-sized hole after one, but they showed signs of coming out of it late, carrying the play for last six minutes or so. have to think Boston will talk puck discipline during the intermission. Turnovers led to two of the three goals.

Boston has certainly made things interesting, retaking the momentum. they even have forced Tampa Bay to takes its timeout after the Lightning iced the puck two straight times. Players were exhausted and coach's hand was forced. Neither team now has a timeout left.

Holy live blog curse. No sooner had I typed that Boston was in dire straits when the rookie, Tyler Seguin, pots one on a breakaway. You'll never forget your first playoff goal, but this one was a beauty. Taking a pass from Michael Ryder at the attacking blue line, Seguin made a sweet move that froze defenseman Mike Lundin and sprung him alone on Dwayne Roloson who could not stop the quick, low shot to the far post. Seguin is in for Patrice Bergeron and has given Claude Julien more than he could have asked for. Goal, BOS 1-3.

Boston is in a major hole here. In the first 11 games of the postseason, Roloson has yet to give up 4 goals in a game and that is what Boston must do now. Crowd is getting a bit ugly.

Major meltdown by Boston here. They just turned the puck over in their own end -- a grisly cough up by Thomas Kaberle behind the net -- and Tampa made them pay again. Teddy Purcell got the goal on a put-back of his own shot. The puck barely crOssed the line before Tim Thomas fished it out, but was cleary a goal. Thomas has allowed three of first 10 shots by, a .700 save percentage. Purcell, meanwhile has points in five-straight games. Goal, TBL 3-0.

Tampa Bay is flying now. Brett Clark just beat two Bruins on a rush that started inside his own bliue line and ended with a tight-angle backhand that fooled Tim Thomas. Andrew Ference missed the opportunity to pokecheck Clark. Goal, TBL 2-0.

The nine-day break didn't cool off Sean Bergenheim, who opened the scoring with a rebound goal, beating Dennis Seidenberg to the loose puck. Bergenheim has 8 goals in these pLayoffs and has 6 in the past 7 games. Goal, TBL 1-0

So much for rust. pace has been tremendous. Some good hits and a few great scoring chances. Tim Thomas has struck first in the goalie battle, making a stone-cold save on Vinny Lecavalier on a breakaway. Thomas refused to commit as Lecavalier dangled. At last second, from his belly, Thomas got a glove on the shot when it was finally released. A few seconds later, Thomas stopped a dangerous 1-timer by Nate Thompson. Boston has turned the puck over in its own zone too much in first eight minutes.

Vinny Lecavalier is dialed in. He has had post-whistle contact on each of his two shifts -- once with Brad Marchand and once with Zdeno Chara, contact Lecavalier initiated. Vinny is far more physical a player than he is credited as being. Boston tough guy Shawn Thornton was saying that just this morning.

We're off. Andrew Ference tried to pinch on first possession by Boston and almost got caught, but outlet pass was deflected by a Bruin and put Vinny Lecavalier offside. It will be interesting to see how aggressive Boston D is in this series. Gave Flyers fits last round.

8:04 p.m.
It looks like, at least early on, that Boston cOach Claude Julien will try to match the Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg pair against the Martin St. Louis line. Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk draw the start against the Vinny Lecavalier line.

7:42 p.m.
I love pre-game music. I love to see how it impacs the crowd and how it helps tell the story of a team and or a game. The Bruins are pretty good at it. They rely on a lot of local bands -- Aerosmith and Dropkick Murphys and they love themselves some AC/DC which is never a bad thing. Right now, they just played the full "Lose Yourself" song by Emminem. Good tune, I guess, but it doesn't do much for me. Some day, I will have to put together the ultimate warm-up collection. It's a daunting task, but would be a lot of fun.

7:34 p.m.
Welcome back to hockey! It's been a long time since last we talked -- 8 days to be precise. I'm chuffed to once again be your eyes and ears for this intriguing Eastern Conference Finals series between the Bruins and Lightning, which is already perched on a knife's edge. There's not much separating these two teams as we start this series and I'm not sure what to expect here in Game 1, but as my good buddy Scott Burnside of just said a few minutes ago, this game will be a lot about the coaches and not only how they game plan, but how they get their charges up after 8 days of rust. Players can talk all they want about getting right back into it and emotion carrying the day, but their is an art to gettIng a team back in synch after a long layoff. Tonioght we found out who did the better job. Puck drop in 30 minutes or so.

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