2011 NHL Playoffs: Lightning's Penalty Kill, Bruins' Thomas Keeps Score 3-1

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s lead over the Boston Bruins remains 3-1 after two periods in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

After a penalty-free first period, Tampa Bay went to the box three times in the second period. But their penalty killing, the best of the four remaining teams in the playoffs at 94.4% coming into the series, easily turned aside the Bruins’ power play. Boston’s first attempt to score with the man advantage was so poor that the home crowd began booing their team. The best scoring chance on a Bruins power play may have actually belonged to the Lightning, when Dominic Moore carried the puck into the Bruins zone and passed across to Sean Bergenheim on a late 2-on-1. But Bergenheim’s shot was high of the crossbar and bounced off the glass.

On the other end of the ice, Tampa Bay had two power plays, but Bruins goalie Tim Thomas was excellent in the second period. He made three key saves, stopping Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos on the power play, and robbing Steve Downie in front of the net after the Lightning won a faceoff and quickly got the puck to the goal mouth.

The Lightning tried a move in the faceoff circle twice in the second period where the player taking the draw tried to move forward with the puck, instead of winning the faceoff back towards the defense or to the other forwards. One led to a tripping penalty by Boston’s Chris Kelly, while the other led to Downie’s scoring chance. Don’t be surprised if this move comes back at some point in the series, like the leave-behind play by Moore and Bergenheim that burned the Pittsburgh Penguins in Games 6 and 7 of the first round.

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