Tampa Bay sent a message in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, creating turnovers in all areas of the ice and scoring three quick goals in the first period on its way to a 5-2 win.
As with every series, things are learned about each team as the series progresses. Last night, this is what we learned at Causeway Crowd:
1. Tampa Bay’s forecheck is more than a simple 1-3-1: To be honest, we already knew that, having watched a number of Lightning games over the course of the season. However, that fact seemed to be lost on the Bruins, who looked confused by the variations Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher put into place.
2. Seguin can be useful: Let’s not get carried away and put Seguin on the first line with 20 minutes of ice time, but the rookie showed he can play at this level of hockey with a goal and an assists in just over 9 minutes of ice. He did turn the puck over a couple times in the neutral zone, but so did every other Boston player.
3. Kaberle is done: Granted, this probably was not something we learned; rather, it was something reinforced. When Boston acquired Kaberle, I said he wouldn’t help the power play, that he would actually hurt it because he was slow and refused to shoot the puck. He actually took a couple shots last night, which could help get some of the pressure off Chara, who had someone in front of him at all times.
4. Tampa’s third line is better than Boston’s third line: Sean Bergenheim has been one of those guys who go from decent third or fourth line guy to playoff cult hero. He has eight goals in the playoffs, including the first goal last night. Dominic Moore and his diving is already in the head of Nathan Horton, and Steve Downie is a tough customer who can also play. That line will be the difference if Boston can’t find an answer.
5. Boston needs to keep its heads: Moore was clearly in Horton’s head when Horton popped him at the end of the game. Victor Hedman got what was coming to him by charging into the scrap, as Milan Lucic decked him. Tampa fans are up in arms about it, wanting Lucic suspended, but that isn’t likely to happen. If you charge into a scrap, you need to be prepared to defend yourself, and Hedman was unprepared.
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