Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports

Lightning 4, Bruins 1: Back to the drawing board

Sara Civian
May 02, 2018 - 9:52 pm

The time on the clock and all the stats indicate that there was a hockey game at TD Garden Wednesday night, but I’m still not totally convinced that’s what the Bruins were playing.

They suffered another sloppy start, and this time the Lightning fully capitalized on it.

Two even strength goals allowed in the opening 3:19? Both scored by the same player?

That’s worse than sloppy.

I mean, look at the defense on those goals. Actually, where is the defense on those goals? Can you even find it?

The Bruins started to emerge about halfway through the first. Matt Grzelcyk was almost making up for his turnover on the first goal with some desperately needed puck movement.

When Jake DeBrusk drew a tripping penalty on Anton Stralman at 13:43, it was an understood “must score” situation. So leave it to Patrice Bergeron to stick with the play:

Tampa regained the two-goal lead with 3:17 left in the first. That’s when the scoring stopped and a blur of penalties started.

The second began with a lot of...just...floating around in No Mans land. There were times the Bruins could hang on to the puck in their zone and David Krejci would set up behind the net -- those were promising -- but he and DeBrusk couldn’t connect.

It was all just a little bit off, and that annoyed David Backes.

It annoyed him enough to drop the gloves with Cedric Paquette. The B’s were lucky Paquette got the misconduct and Backes got off with two for boarding and five for fighting -- especially because Backes’ attempt to get something going got absolutely nothing going. Add on a Brad Marchand penalty for slashing at 15:57, a Torey Krug penalty for holding at 11:58, and the physicality head coach Bruce Cassidy thought might be the solution to Game 3 was a no-go.

Back to the drawing board for the third?

This time that didn't work. They came out for the third with the same awkward chemistry they had before.

All the Lightning had to do was score their goals early, patrol the neutral zone, and avoid Backes' fists to win 3-1. When the Bruins got it together for a few chances in the waning minutes as they so often do, Andrei Vasilevskiy's solid goaltending was just a plus for Tampa. Steven Stamkos finally showing up to this series with the 4-1 empty netter was just poetry. And yep, it started with a Krug penalty.

With their second consecutive comeback effort failed, the Bruins might want to start Game 4 on top. Or -- at the very least -- awake.

 

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