TAMPA, Fla. -- The Bruins took a 2-1 series lead behind a brilliant, 31-save performance from Tim Thomas, who shut out the Lightning 2-0 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night. Andrew Ference and David Krejci lit the lamp for the Bruins, who have won the past two games in the series.
Bergeron returns; Thornton sits. After missing the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals with a mild concussion, Bruins center Patrice Bergeron returned to the lineup in Game 3. With Bergeron back, that meant Shawn Thornton took a seat in the press box as a healthy scratch. Bergeron played 19:18 and was 18-10 on the faceoff dot. Here’s what the forward lines looked like:
Finally a goaltenders duel. Heading into this series, it was expected that goals would be scarce since Tim Thomas and Dwayne Roloson had been so good through the first two rounds of the playoffs. For the first two games, Thomas and Roloson weren’t bad, but they weren’t their usual show-stopping selves, allowing a combined 18 goals. Well, the goalies duel finally came in Game 3 as Thomas and Roloson were locked in. Thomas made 31 saves for his first shutout of the playoffs, and Roloson made 23 in a very tightly contested matchup.
Krejci and Lucic battle through. Bruins winger Milan Lucic missed the morning skate for the second straight game but played in Game 3. Lucic is battling through a foot injury after being hit by a Seguin shot in practice Monday but played well Thursday, making his presence felt as he set up linemate Krejci for the Bruins’ first goal 1:09 into the game. Lucic also did a great job of keeping the puck in the offensive zone just before the Bruins’ second goal.
Krejci had to battle through some pain as well, as he was the recipient of a shoulder-to-the-head hit when Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron laid into him 11:09 into the second period. Krejci seemed a bit dazed, slowly rising to his feet, but returned after missing a couple of shifts.
Chara shuts down Lecavalier. After watching Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier score a goal and set up three in Game 2, Bruins captain Zdeno Chara shut Lecavalier down by shadowing him for 17 shifts and logging a game-high 28:27. Chara played one of his better defensive games of the playoffs and gave Lecavalier hardly any space.