Seguin Leads Bruins Past Lightning, Series Even
BOSTON (AP) — Scoring five goals in one period didn’t satisfy Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien. Neither did an outstanding offensive game by prize rookie Tyler Seguin.
Not when the Bruins gave up 10 goals in two games and had to fight off a late charge by the Tampa Bay Lightning to gain a split of the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals.
“I don’t think anybody’s happy,” Julien said after Tuesday night’s 6-5 win. “We want to score goals. There’s no doubt there. But the way we’ve been giving up goals, there’s nothing to be proud of.”
Boston allowed the fewest goals in the conference during the regular season — and the playoffs are known for strong defense.
“It seemed like it was going to be a weird game,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said, “so we want to make sure we are not that weird for the next game.”
The series moves to Tampa for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday night and Saturday.
The Lightning’s eight-game winning streak ended with their first loss in 27 days since rallying from a 3-1 deficit against
Pittsburgh in the first round.
“After eight games of playing solid, structured and intense and doing things down to the ‘T’ there’s bound to be some point you have something that might be a little different,” Boucher said.
“Even if we would have won that game, we wouldn’t be happy with the way we played.”
Tampa Bay won the opener 5-2 then fell behind 6-3 when Seguin — benched for all 11 games in the first two rounds for defensive shortcomings — scored two goals and assisted on a pair by Michael Ryder, all in the second period.
Steven Stamkos made it 6-4 at 3:47 of the third and Dominic Moore cut the deficit to one with 6:45 remaining.
Then Bruins goalie Tim Thomas held firm.
“If you start thinking about the goals that just went in it’s going to lead to other goals,” Thomas said. “I’ve been through enough situations similar to that. I was just trying to keep my focus.”
He did that well enough to turn back 36 of the Lightning’s 41 shots.
“We did stuff that we were not happy with and obviously the comeback was good for us,” Tampa Bay’s Sean Bergenheim said. “It wasn’t enough but it shows something about this team.”
Center Patrice Bergeron, one of Boston’s best players, has not been ruled out of the series after missing the first two games because of a mild concussion.
“It definitely makes it a little easier” if he returns, Boston’s Mark Recchi said.
Seguin took Bergeron’s spot in the lineup and showed the speed and scoring ability that convinced the Bruins to draft him with the second overall pick last year.
Just 19, he energized the Bruins and thrilled the spectators. He was an onlooker himself until the last two games.
“It’s hard sitting there and not being able to help the boys,” Seguin said.
So, he said, “I wanted to take advantage.”
Seguin had rejoined the lineup for the series opener, getting a goal and an assist.
On Tuesday, he tied the game at 2 just 48 seconds into the second period. Then, after David Krejci put Boston ahead for good, Seguin made it 4-2 at 6:30. Vincent Lecavalier cut the Lightning’s deficit to 4-3 with a power-play goal at 7:48 before Seguin set up Ryder’s goals.
“He was really the reason we won,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said.
Adam Hall had given the Lightning a 1-0 lead 13 seconds after the opening faceoff, the quickest goal in the team’s playoff history.
Nathan Horton tied it on a power play at 13:58, then the Lightning took a 2-1 lead when Martin St. Louis scored with 7 seconds left in the first period.
“We knew we had to be better,” St. Louis said. “At that point, we were lucky to be up 2-1.”
Seguin started the second-period barrage when he took a pass from Ryder and sped between defensemen Randy Jones and Victor Hedman. Seguin went in alone on Dwayne Roloson and lifted a backhander over the sprawling goalie.
His playoff benching after playing in 76 regular-season games provided motivation.
“Whenever I face adversity, I always try to take a negative and turn it into a positive,” Seguin said.
He got his second goal on a 10-footer to the left of Roloson 22 seconds after Thomas stopped Ryan Malone on a breakaway. Lecavalier cut the lead to one before Seguin produced again.
His shot from the top of the right circle hit Ryder’s leg. It slid to the left, where Ryder gained control and beat Roloson at 16:16 on a power play.
The crowd chanted, “Tyler Seguin, Tyler Seguin.”
And he wasn’t through.
In the final minute of the second period, he made a backhanded pass from the left boards to Chris Kelly, stationed about 15 feet in front of the net. Roloson made the save but Ryder converted the rebound with 19 seconds left.
“When (Seguin) is skating and holding onto the puck and making plays, that’s when he’s at his best,” Ryder said.
Roloson, who entered with the NHL’s best goals-against average and save percentage in this year’s playoffs, was replaced at the start of the third period by Mike Smith after allowing six goals on 27 shots. Smith stopped all eight shots he faced.
“We didn’t stick to our structure,” Stamkos said, “and when we don’t stick to our structure that is what happens.”
Notes: Roloson allowed 25 goals in Tampa Bay’s first 12 playoff games. … The Lightning took a 1-0 lead for the seventh straight game but fell to 8-1 when scoring first in the playoffs. … Bruins C Marc Savard, who missed most of the season with a concussion, watched in street clothes from a box in the stands.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)