Through two games, the Boston Bruins could not get on the board first against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 1 saw the Lightning score three times in 85 seconds midway through the first period en route to victory. Adam Hall took 13 seconds to put Tampa up 1-0 in Game 2, but the "pond hockey" game that ensued saw the Bruins even the series.
In Game 3, Boston needed all of 69 seconds to take the early lead for the first time in the series and then a defensive shutdown earned them a 2-0 shutout and a 2-1 lead in the series.
The game clamped down into a tight battle after the eagerness of Victor Hedman to aid Brett Clark in defending Milan Lucic along the boards allowed David Krejci to be left wide open for the opening goal:
As Guy Boucher noted postgame, the early goal was important seeing as how both teams tightened up defensively in Game 3.
"If it wasn't for that [Krejci's goal], I think it would have stayed 0-0 for quite a while," said Boucher. "So yeah, one bad mistake and it cost us, and then we were chasing the rest of the game. But I think it looked a lot more the type of game that people were expecting. And their goaltender made some great saves in key moments and we couldn't get that goal back. But, yeah, obviously both teams were a lot more structured."
Boucher was quick to not place blame on Hedman for the gaffe.
"Somebody is supposed to be there, but I'm not going to blame somebody for -- it's a team thing. We want to make sure it's a team mistake that we correct."
After allowing nine goals in the first two games, Tim Thomas stopped all 31 Lightning shots for his second career playoff shutout. Thomas said he played more under control in Game 3 and that the flow of the game was like what the Bruins were used to.
"That felt more like a normal game," said Thomas. "That felt like the game we played most of the season."
Bruins coach Claude Julien was pleased with the decision-making of his team and its ability to keep Dwayne Roloson alert, something Thomas was quick to label afterwards.
"Playoffs are always faster and more energy and a few more scoring chances than a regular season game. But that was Boston Bruins hockey."