Coming off a sweep of the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Tampa Bay Lightning showed no signs of a letdown Saturday night after throttling the Boston Bruins 5-2 in game one of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Lightning came out quickly with a barrage of goals in the first period, scoring three times in less than two minutes. The scoring started with Sean Bergenheim, his league-leading eighth goal in the 2011 playoffs.
It only took 19 seconds to extend that lead to two goals. Brett Clark took the puck the length of the ice before shooting a backhand shot that seemed to surprise Boston’s goalkeeper Tim Thomas.
A minute later, Teddy Purcell gave the Lightning an insurmountable three goal lead. Purcell took advantage of a turnover behind the Bruins’ own net and slipped a quick backhand shot past Thomas for goal number three.
With the crowd effectively shell-shocked, the Lightning rested on that lead thanks to a stifling defense that flummoxed the Bruins for much of the game, forcing many turnovers in the process. In addition, the scrappy defense of the Lightning blocked 17 shots during the game, keeping the Bruins at bay as they attempted an ultimately futile comeback.
With the Lightning taking game one, the Bruins will look to even the series on Tuesday night back in Boston.