Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

All signs positive for Lightning's Gagne

Categories: BOS vs. TAM, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning

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Simon Gagne, centre, celebrates a Tampa third-period goal. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Simon Gagne, centre, celebrates a Tampa third-period goal. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
In his first game back after missing the last three against Washington because of a head injury, Tampa Bay's Simon Gagne recorded four shots in 15:11 of ice time. Gagne scored an empty-net goal at 17:29 of the third and skated on the second line with Vincent Lecavalier and Teddy Purcell.

"Good," Gagne said when asked how he felt out there. "Rust maybe a bit on the first couple shifts. But felt a little bit better in the second and the third. It was good to get back on the ice, play, and get the first win."

The Lightning held their breath in the third when Johnny Boychuk buried Gagne with a clean north-south hit. But Gagne got up after the hit. Even better, Boychuk was sent off for roughing.

After the hit, Lecavalier had approached Boychuk to let him know he didn't like the blast. Boychuk responded by cuffing him, earning the roughing minor.

On the following power play, Marc-Andre Bergeron beat Tim Thomas with a long-range slap shot for Tampa Bay's fourth goal.

"It was a clean hit. That was good," Gagne said. "I had the puck in my skate. I knew somebody was going to come, but I didn't know it was going to be [Boychuk]. He's a pretty good physical defenceman, and he got me in the chest. It was a clean hit. It was good. Nothing happened.

"It was good. Vinny went after him a little bit. I didn't see what happened. I think he punched him or something, so that's why we got a power play and we were able to score because of that. That was maybe not the difference in the game, but a big goal for us after that."

Seguin strikes in debut

Boston's Tyler Seguin scored a goal in his playoff debut. Seguin, dressing in place of Patrice Bergeron (concussion), skated on the third line alongside Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley.

In the first period, after the Lightning grabbed a 3-0 lead, Seguin got his team on the scoreboard. After taking a pass from Ryder, Seguin went one-on-one against Mike Lundin. Seguin crossed over on Lundin, and the defenceman fell to the ice as he tried to regroup. Seguin then beat Dwayne Roloson glove side with a snap shot at 15:59 of the first.

"Definitely a bit of a relief," Seguin said of scoring. "I think coming in the first period, I was definitely very excited. I found myself running around just a little bit just because I had so much legs, I guess. After I had that goal, it was a bit of a sigh of relief and I could be more poised out there."

Seguin finished the game with three shots in 9:38 of ice time. He became the first player since 1993 to appear in a conference final after being a top-five draft pick the previous season. The last player to do so was Darius Kasparaitis for the New York Islanders.

Lightning perfect on PK

Tampa entered the series having killed 51 of 54 power plays in the playoffs (94.4 per cent). The Lightning added to their PK prowess by turning the Bruins aside on four power plays in Game 1. The Bruins totalled only four power play shots.

"Our guys have done a great job focusing and doing the little things to allow us to kill those penalties off," Tampa goalie Dwayne Roloson said. "Whether it's battles at the blue-line or getting pucks down deep when we get that opportunity. There's no one thing. For us as a team, it's just playing within our structure and doing the little things that we have to do to win hockey games."

The Lightning were especially effective at gumming up the neutral zone and preventing the Bruins from executing clean entries. The Lightning tracked down the Bruins' dump-ins and repeatedly sent pucks out of the zone.

"I thought our execution could certainly have been better, especially on those entries," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We had some rims, and at one point the puck went past three of our guys. Guys have to be better in those areas and we know that. If we do our job properly, I think we are going to have success, but you need the execution."

Kaberle fumble leads to winning goal

The Lightning capped a three-goal surge in the first after defenceman Tomas Kaberle committed a defensive-zone turnover. After taking a pass from Dennis Seidenberg, Kaberle tried to initiate the breakout from behind the net.

But the puck bobbled off Kaberle's stick and onto the blade of a forechecking Teddy Purcell. Before Tim Thomas could drop into his butterfly, Purcell had slipped the puck into the net to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead.

"The puck slid on my blade and I tried to make a move," Kaberle said. "Those things you have to put behind you, the past behind you. I felt good in the first period. I thought I had good legs. When you make a mistake, you have to put it behind you. That's all you have to do. If you keep thinking about it, it's not going to make you any better."

Moment of silence for Boogaard

There was a moment of silence before Game 1 to remember Rangers forward Derek Boogaard, who died suddenly on Friday. Former Minnesota teammates present at the Garden were Shane Hnidy, Dwayne Roloson, Dominic Moore, Adam Hall, and Marc-Andre Bergeron.