BOSTON -- After an eight-day layoff after the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Bruins came out flat in Game 1 of the conference finals Saturday and looked baffled by the Tampa Bay Lightning's 1-3-1 system. Brett Clark and Teddy Purcell had a goal and assist each, while Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves to lead the Lightning to a 5-2 win at TD Garden.
The Bruins now trail the series 1-0 with Game 2 set for Tuesday at the Garden.
Bruins were the rusty team -- With the Bruins having eight days off between series and the Lightning having nine, the main question heading into this Eastern Conference finals series was which team would be rusty, if not both? The answer ended up being the Bruins, as they came out flat and before they knew it, were down 3-0 only 12:40 into regulation on goals by Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark and Teddy Purcell. Boston gave up two goals in nine seconds, at 11:15 and 11:34, to Bergenheim and Clark, respectively, and then Purcell scored at 12:40 for three goals in 1:25. Goalie Tim Thomas didn’t look as sharp as he has been since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series, but the Bruins were collectively flat in the first 12:40 of regulation.
Ageless wonders begin their duel -- Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson, 41, and Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, 37, have arguably been the best goalies in the playoffs thus far and were one of the highly anticipated matchups heading into this series. Roloson continued his stellar form, but Thomas looked a bit shaky in the first period, allowing three goals on 10 shots. But Thomas settled down and made some big saves in the second and third periods to keep the Bruins in the game. The Vezina Trophy candidate finished with 29 saves, and Roloson made 31.
Seguin makes his presence felt immediately -- In his first Stanley Cup playoff game, on his first shot in the playoffs, rookie Tyler Seguin scored his first career playoff goal. He then added an assist late in the game. Seguin took Patrice Bergeron's spot in the lineup and was skating on the right wing with Rich Peverley at center and Michael Ryder on the left wing. Both Peverley and Ryder assisted on Seguin’s goal.
Bergeron missed on faceoffs -- Throughout the week, when asked where they would miss Patrice Bergeron most, the Bruins often mentioned faceoffs. Well, they were exactly right, as the Bruins were embarrassed at the dot by losing 41-26 in faceoffs Saturday. The Lightning were 61 percent on the dot and the Bruins were 39 percent.
Power play struggles again -- Special teams was a huge topic coming into this series; the Lightning had the best power play and third-best penalty kill in the playoffs, while the Bruins had the worst power play and ranked 10th in penalty kills. The Lightning ended up getting another power-play goal Saturday, going 1-for-3, while the Bruins struggled again, going 0-for-4. The Bruins are now 2-for-41 on the man-advantage.
Lineup changes with Bergeron out -- With Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup, rookie Tyler Seguin got his first taste of playoff action. Seguin was on the right wing of the third line with Rich Peverley at center and Michael Ryder on the left wing. The normal center on that line, Chris Kelly, took Bergeron’s spot in the middle of Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi. On defense, Adam McQuaid returned after missing the final two games of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a sprained neck. Here’s what the defensive pairings and forward lines looked like:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Chris Kelly-Mark Recchi
Michael Ryder-Rich Peverley-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid