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Cullen: Supporting cast leads the way for Tampa Bay

Scott Cullen
5/14/2011 11:23:41 PM
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In theory, the Boston Bruins might have felt positive if they knew that, after Game One, they would have kept Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier in check but, as usual, the Lightning got production from their supporting cast.

(St. Louis, with an assist on Tampa Bay's fourth goal, had the only point for the Lightning's Big Three and Stamkos didn't register a shot on goal.)

The leader of that supporting cast, as he has been all playoff, was left winger Sean Bergenheim, who tallied his league-leading eighth goal of the postseason.

After Tampa Bay had the worst shot differential through the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Lightning outshot the Bruins 23-20 through the first two periods, on the way to both teams finishing with 33 shots total for the game.

Boston's power play was 0-for-4, making the Bruins 2-for-41 (4.9%) with the man advantage in the postseason.  Tampa Bay has now killed 55-of-58 (94.8%) penalties in the playoffs, which could turn this situation into a crucial difference-maker in the series.

In a related story, it's hard to imagine any player in the playoffs that will be a free agent in the summer and has cost themselves as much as Bruins defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who has seen his ice time cut drastically and has been ineffective when he has played.  Considering he was brought in to improve the power play, above all else, Kaberle hasn't come close to meeting expectations.

Without Patrice Bergeron, Boston was also dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 39%.  Vincent Lecavalier won 16-of-26 (61.5%) and Nate Thompson won 9-of-12 (75.0%) to lead the way for Tampa Bay.

Conversely, Boston's David Krejci was terrible on draws, losing 15 of 18.

Tampa Bay's Dwayne Roloson, owner of the best save percentage in this year's playoffs coming into the Conference Finals, stopped 31 of 33 shots.

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas surrendered three first period goals, within 1:25; rather unusual, since he only allowed three goals in the first period once all season (December 16 against Montreal).

If the Bruins aren't going to win the goaltending battle and Bergeron is out of the lineup, they're going to be fighting uphill all series, it seems.

Boston's rookie centre, Tyler Seguin, who was in the lineup because Bergeron is out, scored the Bruins' first goal and assisted on their second, yet played just 9:38 in total, getting only two shifts in the second period and not a sniff of power play time.  Tough to break up such an outstanding unit, apparently.

Seguin's 11 shifts tied him with enforcer Shawn Thornton for the fewest shifts of any Bruins forward.  Given Boston's struggles on the power play and, really, generating any offence whatsoever, Seguin might have warranted a more significant role.

Tampa Bay couldn't have asked for more coming out of Game One at Boston and the frustrated Bruins resorted to some thug tactics when the outcome was already decided. 

The Bruins will have to bring a whole lot more of that fire to Game Two if they are going to earn a split at home.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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