After an end-to-end Game Two, Boston and Tampa Bay played a more buttoned-down style in Game Three and it worked out for the Bruins, thanks to a formula that has worked for them much of this season.
Defence and goaltending provided the backbone for the Bruins' 2-0 win, as Tim Thomas stopped all 31 shots he faced and Zdeno Chara logged 28:27, his second-highest regulation time total of the postseason (played 28:36 in Game Five against Montreal).
Chara and Dennis Seidenberg formed Boston's shutdown pair, matched up primarily against Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, and were clearly more effective defensively than in Game Two, though Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell led the Lightning, combining for 11 shots on goal.
After taking a minus-3 in Game Two, Bruins defenceman Johnny Boychuk was plus-2 in Game Three; a nice rebound game. Tomas Kaberle played just 12:41 for the Bruins, the lowest ice time he's received all season and, perhaps not coincidentally, the Bruins had an impressive defensive performance.
Centre Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup for the Bruins, playing 19:13 and won 18 of 28 (64.3%) faceoffs. David Krejci also won 13 of 18 (72.2%) draws, his best showing, by far, in the series and Boston ended up winning 57% of the faceoffs in the game.
Defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron played 19:39 for the Lightning, his most of the playoffs and a total he only surpassed once in the regular season.
It wasn't the most exciting game of the playoffs, to be sure, but it was the kind of road effort that the Bruins needed to take the lead in the series. They'll likely aim for more of the same in Saturday's matinee Game Four, while the Lightning could use more contributions from their supporting cast if the big guns are going to get locked down by Chara and Company.
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.