Who would've thought that after three games the Bruins would be up 2-1 on the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals? If you watched ESPN, Versus or NBC the answer is no one. Living in Boston, it's not surprising to see pundits, experts and the talking heads of networks verbally shit all over the Bruins because we've dealt with this before.
When Boston played Montreal, the Canadiens were to fast for the Bruins. They would use their speed and their power play against the Bruins and upset the Bruins. When it was Philadelphia, all we heard was the collapse. The Flyers were going to take their physical play to the Bruins and guys like James Van Reimsdyk and Daniel Briere were going to make Tim Thomas look like the black and gold version of Brian Boucher. Finally, when the Bruins swept the Flyers and went on the face the Lightning, those same people then began saying how much of a genius Guy Boucher was, how they swept the Crapitals and how the 1-3-1 was the greatest hockey invention since the one-timer.
Let's be honest here, no one really gave Boston a shot against the Lightning. Barry Melrose was on ESPN with his smug smirk and dirty fucking mullet telling everyone how superior the Lightning were to the B's and how the 1-3-1 was going to shut down the Boston offense and allow little movement through the nuetral zone.
Well so far that hasn't really happened. Game 1 the Lightning came out and showed everyone that they weren't a flash in the pan. They really made Boston look bad, but Boston lost the game more than Tampa won. Game 2 was virtually a professional pond hockey game where goalies and defensemen decided to take the night off and Boston skated away with a 6-5 victory. Although it was ugly, it was still a win and in the playoffs the only thing that truly matters are W's and L's.
Game 3 was a totally different monster. The day before the game and the day of the game, people from Tampa decided to bitch and moan about the Bruins signs at the TD Garden. The same TD Garden these people haven't placed one pinky toe inside of. The Tampa Bay "fans" went to social media networks and began proclaiming victory over Boston! Their DJ used homophobic slurs to rile up the city of Boston. He called us "douchebags" and "fags". He tried to be the Tampa Tough Guy in a sea of blue hairs.
Then when the puck dropped...everything changed. David Krejci scored a beautiful goal a minute and change into the first period and the St. Pete Times Forum EXPLODED into celebration. Shit, they may have well played the fog horn and followed it with a hearty rendition of Zombie Nation because it was a virtual home game. There's a reason why there were two tickets left for Game 3 at "The Forum" and it's because 40% of the tickets bought for that game came from Bruins fans.
Look, I'm all about talking shit with the opponent's fans (obviously), but please don't throw attendance and tickets in my face when the home team is DOMINATED by the away team's fans in their own arena. It's disgraceful and it paints the perfect picture of Tampa Bay. I'm not even going to use the old folks jokes (poet and I know it) because anyone who dares to talk tongue in Tampa need to realize that they aren't a true hockey club. You can't fill your fucking arena in an Eastern Conference Final game!
After the jump, let's talk about some hockey game...
Oh yeah, there's a game on today too. The Bruins were able to break the 1-3-1 well in Game 2, which made Guy Boucher use his 2-2-1 forecheck for most of the game. Again, the Bruins had little issue with breaking that forecheck as well and seemed to frustrate the Lightning all night.
Right from the jump, the Bruins dominated the flow of the game and the Tampa defense, a defense Boston fans said weren't very good since the matchup was announced, showed their issues allowing David Krejci to slide in behind them and dummy Roloson for the first goal. Once that first goal was in the bag, the Bruins were able to dictate the flow of the game and play the puck the way they wanted to.
Tim Thomas was amazing once more and it's only fitting that he's playing his best hockey since the Rapture is one it's way. He is a god afterall.
Fun fact about that picture, I said in a DOY chat that if the Bruins win the Cup, I'm getting this image tattooed on me in the offseason. I stand by it. In fact, I'm looking forward to it.
Where was I again? Right. Tim Thomas was astronomical in net in Game 3. His positioning may have been his best since Game 2 against the Flyers and his rebound control was definitely the best of the playoffs so far. In Games 1 and 2, Tampa was able to capitalize on long rebounds that Thomas gave up, but in Game 3 he smothered the puck to the best of his ability. It will be crucial in Game 4 for Timmy to continue doing this because giving good forwards second opportunities leads to goals.
Overall, the Bruins should just continue to play their game. There's no doubt in my mind that Tampa will come out with a full head of steam, but the Bruins should be able to "weather the storm" (and no, that is not an intended pun on the Lightning) and slow the pace of the game down and play their way.
The way the series is going, whoever scores first (and probably early) will win this game.
LETS GO BRUINS!