GOLD STAR: Brad Marchand showed up along with the rest of his Perfection Line mates in Game 1 against Tampa Bay and was the reason they won the contest 3-2. Marchand finished with a goal and two points, five shot attempts, one hit, four takeaways and even won a face-off in his 21:14 of ice time while winning battles and creating offense.
It was Marchand that won a couple of 50/50 puck battles and circled around in the offensive zone before setting up Brandon Carlo for a point shot that led to the Charlie Coyle goal in front of the net. Then it was Marchand netting the game-winner in the opening minutes of the third period when he finished off a play in front after a couple of nifty passes from Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak to create the play.
Marchand is well aware that the Tampa defense held his line down the last time these two teams met in the postseason, and he played in Game 1 like he's determined to not let that happen again.
BLACK EYE: Ryan McDonagh was not very good for the Lightning to the point where you wonder if something is wrong with him health-wise. He finished playing only 15:05 of ice time with a shot attempt and a blocked shot, and it was McDonagh who was completely pick-pocketed in the third period when Patrice Bergeron lifted his stick and stole the puck from him at the Tampa net. He fed Pastrnak and then the puck made its way to Marchand in front for the game-winning goal.
McDonagh is usually a big minutes shutdown kind of guy and had averaged massive minutes in the postseason for Tampa Bay, but he didn’t even come close to 20 minutes in Game 1. If that kind of ineffectiveness continues for McDonagh and Tampa Bay, they might be in trouble against the Bruins.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins played a strong first period and then really took control of the game when they scored in the final minutes of the first period. It was part of a physical, impressive first period where the B’s generated Grade-A scoring chances, pushed the Lightning around physically and then saw their top players break through for a goal when Charlie Coyle tipped home a Brandon Carlo point shot at the end of a Perfection Line shift.
Once the Bruins had the lead going into the first intermission, they never trailed and began building up a lead that would grow to 3-0 in the third period before a pair of late Victor Hedman goals made it a close game. But it was really about scoring the first goal and wresting control of the game for the Bruins against a quality Lightning hockey club.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jaroslav Halak gave up a pair of goals in the third period, but he stopped the pucks when it really mattered in the second. Once the Bruins had built up a 2-0 lead with their power play goal, the Lightning took control of the game and outshot the Bruins by an 18-7 margin in the second period. Halak stopped all 18 shots that he faced and made a couple of five star saves on Brayden Point on a rebound in front, and then on Barclay Goodrow at the side of the net while moving from post-to-post amongst his best.
In all he stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced, has won four straight games in the playoffs and has a .936 save percentage in the four games since taking over for the departed Tuukka Rask in net. Halak continues to show that the B’s still have a very real chance at winning a Cup this season despite their No. 1 heading home for the postseason.
BY THE NUMBERS: 7 – the number of consecutive playoff games that David Krejci has a point in this postseason, which is the most for a Bruins player since Patrice Bergeron back in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.