Boston Bruins Brutal Beatdown of the Bolts by the Bay

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 28: Rick Nash
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 28: Rick Nash /

Alliteration aside, Saturday’s game was an absolutely dismantling by the Boston Bruins to start the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Saturday’s game could not have gone any better for the Boston Bruins.  Boston went into this series as slight underdogs, having come in 2nd to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the regular season.  Also, Boston had to go 7 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1st round, whereas Tampa Bay dispatched the New Jersey Devils in 5 games.

Well, Game 1 of this series was a serious beat down.  The Boston Bruins had 2 days off, and Tampa Bay had a full week of rest.  And while you’d think that would be good for a team, especially in the playoffs, it looked to be the opposite for the Lightning.

The Bruins came out fast and furious, and the Lightning looked sluggish and rusty.  The Bruins scored first towards the end of the first frame on a Rick Nash tip-in power play goal, and they led the rest of the way.  It was good to see Rick Nash get off the schneid, because he has been really snake-bitten in these playoffs.

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Embrace the weirdness

The second period featured some playoff craziness that was truly unprecedented.  After a Patrice Bergeron goal and Dan Girardi goal had the score at 2-1 Bruins, it looked as though Brad Marchand had made the score 3-1.  However, a weak cross-checking call on David Pastrnak literally as Marchand fired the puck passed Andrei Vasilevskiy negated the goal.  The Bruins killed off the power play, so luckily it didn’t turn into a double negative.

After Rick Nash scored his 2nd of the game on an absolute snipe to give the Bruins a 3-1 lead, the game got even nuttier.  On a Bolts power play, a shot ricocheted off the bottom of Tuukka Rask‘s skate, dislodging his skate blade in the process.  The Bruins were unable to clear the puck, and Rask was unable to move in his crease.  Mikhail Sergahev then blasted one home, which then led to an epic freak-out by Rask, involving him throwing his skate blade in anger.  This led to some pretty impressive meme-work on Twitter.

Calm and collected

Despite the incidents in the 2nd, the Bruins maintained their composure as the 3rd period rolled around.  The Bruins top line continued their dominance from the first round, with Marchand and Bergeron netting goals in the 3rd to extend the Bruins lead to 5-2.  But the top trio were not the only players worth mentioning in the 3rd.

Rookie Jake DeBrusk, who was arguably the best and most consistent player for the Bruins in the opening series, had a heroic shift in the final frame.  It involved a shot block that stung him, a hard check to get the puck from a Lightning attacker, and a diving play to get the puck out of the zone at the blue line.  He is doing everything he can to endear himself to the Bruins faithful, and was rewarded by scoring the empty net goal to put the game away.

Let me “Rask” you something…

Questions arose after the Toronto series about whether Tuukka Rask was going to be able to get the Bruins passed the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Rask was fantastic in this game.  He wasn’t tested in the high scoring areas as much as he had been in the 7 games with Toronto, but stopped 34 of 36 shots, some of which were solid saves on Tampa’s best goal scorers in Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

The two goals scored involved a deflection off Matt Grzelcyk‘s stick right in front, and then the now infamous #BladeGate goal by Sergachev.  More importantly, Rask was able to get his head back into the game after that blow-up and shut the door after that goal.  Mental toughness is usually what most non-Tuukka fans call him out for, but he showed he has it in this game.

Next: Bruins Inconsistencies let Torono Hang Around

The next game in the series is tonight in Tampa Bay, as the Bruins hope to head back to Boston with a 2-0 series lead.