Lightning Vs. Bruins: Tampa Strikes Thrice Early, Takes Game 1 On The Road

A three-goal outburst within one minute and 25 seconds to make it 3-0 mid-way through the first was all the Tampa Bay Lightning would need to get a Game 1 win over the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Final. The Lightning got five different goal scorers and a solid performance by Dwayne Roloson in a 5-2 road victory over the Bruins at TD Garden Saturday night. 

It was an exciting start for both teams, as both teams were able to draw great chances. Vincent Lecavalier had the best early chance, getting in alone on Boston goaltender Tim Thomas. Lecavalier tried the backhand move that Peter Forsberg used against Canada in the 1992 Gold Medal Game of the Olympics, but Thomas made a remarkable save to keep it scoreless. It wouldn't be for long.

A few minutes later, a bizarre play happened that caused Bruin defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to lose his stick completely. That would hurt him, as he was the only man able to play a rebound of a Tim Thomas save off a Dominic Moore shot. The best he could do was weakly kick the puck, where it was found by Sean Bergenheim, and he buried it past Thomas. Bergenheim continued his remarkable post-season, getting his eighth goal of the playoffs at 11:15.

Right off the face-off, defenseman Brett Clark got the puck in his own zone. The Lightning defender took it through the neutral zone, into the Bruins end, down the right wing. He was loosely watched by Andrew Ference of Boston, loosely enough that he got a nasty back-hander away that beat Thomas in a Raymond Bourque-esque rush in #77's old haunt. It was Clark's first goal of the post-season, and the second Tampa Bay goal in 19 seconds to make it 2-0 Lightning.

A minute later, there was another blunder from the Boston defense. Tomas Kaberle made a terrible play behind his own net. He simply mis-played, panicked and then gave it up to a standing-in-front Teddy Purcell. The young Tampa forward got not one, but two clean chances on Thomas and was able to bury it and make it 3-0 Lightning. It was Purcell's second of the post-season, and the third Lightning goal in 1:25 at 12:40 to make it a three-goal lead. Claude Julien took his lone timeout to slow things down.

The Bruins got the momentum back slowly, and then got a goal back, courtesy of their #2-overall pick in the 2010 Entry Draft, Tyler Seguin. Seguin made a remarkable cross-over move on Tampa's Mike Lundin, and beat Dwayne Rolson at 15:59. It was Seguin's first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal in his first career post-season game, and it was 3-1 Lightning, which is how the first period would end.

In the second period, Thomas faced 13 shots, with the Bruins defense still looking shaky at times, and the Lightning getting two opportunities on the power play. Thomas was fantastic, making 13 saves and looking acrobatic on many of them. Dwayne Roloson was just as solid as he was in the first, though he faced fewer shots, stopping eight of eight in the middle frame.

Both goaltenders were solid, but eventually an ill-advised penalty did in the Bruins. Johnny Boychuk landed a massive, open-ice hit on Simon Gagne. Lecavalier tried to get Boychuk to answer for what was largely a clean hit, and Boychuk pushed back enough to get a roughing minor. Marc-Andre Bergeron ripped a knuckler that went off the knob of Thomas' stick and in the net to make it 4-1 Tampa Bay. Second goal of the post-season for Bergeron to make it a three-goal game again.

Gagne himself managed a measure of revenge with an empty netter from center to cement it. Chris Kelly got a garbage goal, but it was too late, as the Lighting took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, 5-2. Game 2 is Tuesday night, and the Bruins will have to put themselves in a must-win situation. 

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