The Boston Bruins continued their stellar play on the road during the playoffs with their 2-0 whitewashing of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. However, it was the way they did it that was most impressive.
In improving to 5-1 on the road in the playoffs, the Bruins combined faceoff domination, a stingy defense and an opportunistic offense to stifle the Lightning, who are now facing a 2-1 deficit.
The return of Patrice Bergeron certainly didn’t hurt. Bergeron, sidelined for the first two games of the series with a mild concussion, dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 18 of 28 draws, an impressive 64 percent effort.
Bruins coach Claude Julien was certainly happy to have Bergeron back.
“I really liked the way he played,’’ Julien told Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe. “His line was better. His linemates [Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi] were more comfortable. There is some chemistry there. We had four lines that were stable.’’
However, it was more than just Bergeron on this night. Every time the Lightning entered the Bruins’ zone, they were thwarted by the defense, led by Zdeno Chara.
“To me, without a doubt, it was his best game of the series,’’ Julien said of Chara. “[Dennis] Seidenberg, even Boychuk were really good tonight. [Boychuk] had a bit of a tough night the other night. So our back end did a great job. We never got caught with outnumbered situations like we did in the first two games. I thought we really adjusted well. We were alert, really focused, and determined tonight.’’
The Bruins will look to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Lightning on Saturday afternoon.
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