When discussing what kind of start he expected out of his team tonight after a 10-day layoff, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien stressed this afternoon to keep things simple and that the first period would be crucial.
Julien had some foresight into what would happen in Game 1 as it was the first period (really a 1:25 span midway through) that decided things early.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 series lead with a 5-2 victory boosted by first period goals from Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark and Teddy Purcell in an 85-second span:
Seriously, when did Brett Clark turn into Bobby Orr?
That makes eight wins in a row for the Lightning, tying a franchise record as the legend of Guy Boucher continues to grow. Trying to be unpredictable and straying from his 1-3-1 system at times during Game 1, he kept the Bruins on their toes and as they've done before, the Lightning started strong, something Boucher noted about his team after the game.
"The thing that we tend to do much better is we reload emotionally, which was harder to do during a portion of the year, especially the first portion of the year, and during the first portion of the first series," said Boucher. "I don't think we're any different than we were in the last series. Our players stay calm under adversity. I think that's a mark of maturity."
Boston's power play was once again nothing but a time waster for Bruins as they failed to capitalize on four opportunities, dropping them to a putrid 2-for-41. And for another night, Julien emphasized the need to be better when given those man-advantage opportunities.
"You need the execution to be there and you need the killer instinct," said Julien. "When you have a chance, you have to bury those things. Same thing with the loose pucks, you got to be first on those, make sure you get them and not the other team. So execution, killer instinct is something that needs to be better on our power-play moving forward here."
The lone highlight for the Bruins? Tyler Seguin's playoff debut. Even after taking just two shifts in the second period, Seguin finished with two points, including Boston's first goal of the game:
The Bruins were able to correct their mistakes after falling down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round and Julien and his players talked about making adjustments heading into Game 2 on Tuesday night.
Between the continued power play failure, Tampa's dominance in the faceoff circle (41-for-67) and the uncharacteristic performance of the team (including 10 giveaways), the first period of Game 2 might be the most important period of the series for the Bruins.
"We just have to focus on what we need to do here in the next game to make it better," said Julien. "It's as simple as that."