Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Lightning coach Boucher preaching 'D'

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

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Boston centre Patrice Bergeron, seen practising earlier in the playoffs, is inching closer to a return. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press) Boston centre Patrice Bergeron, seen practising earlier in the playoffs, is inching closer to a return. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

During Thursday's morning skate at St. Pete Times Forum, Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron looked every bit like a player who would dress later in the day. According to Claude Julien, Bergeron will require final clearance if he is to play tonight in Game 3.

"There's probably going to be a decision made either today, if not tomorrow, as he inches closer," said Julien. "He's feeling pretty good. Not totally up to the coach to make the final decision. I think a lot of other things have to happen."

Julien said that if Bergeron goes out for pregame warmups, he will play.

"If you see him out there for warmups, I'm not just sending him out there for a skate," Julien said. "He's going to be playing."

Bergeron participated in his second straight morning skate today. He has now skated in five of the last six days and has reported no setbacks. Prior to Game 2, after concluding the morning skate with the game players, Bergeron went on the ice at TD Garden once more. The second time, Bergeron skated with Boston's Black Aces and took contact for the first time.

Today, Bergeron did not join the Black Aces. Instead, Bergeron was one of the first players to head to the dressing room after the skate, as his usual pregame routine.

"He brings so much all over the ice," Zdeno Chara said. "Especially his effort and his hard work. He plays in all situations. If you're missing a guy who plays so much in all situations, you're going to miss him. If he's ready to play tonight, he's going to bring all those things to our game."

Offence not enough for Lightning

In each of the first two games, Tampa Bay has dumped pucks into the Boston net. But the 6-5 loss in Game 2 and the pile of scoring chances that came with the setback were enough proof to Guy Boucher that offense plays a back seat to defense.

"Last game was the game where we had the most chances of the entire year. And it didn't help us," said Boucher, who counted 30-plus scoring opportunities. "Defence is what we needed to focus on last game. In both games, we scored five goals. But there was one of them we didn't win. Obviously it's because we didn't play as well defensively. We gave away rushes. I think our focus has to be defense first like it always is when we have success. We know that if we have success defensively, we've given ourselves a much better chance. They're a very good team on the other side. They can score some goals. If you give them breakaways and 2-on-1's and 3-on-2's, it's certainly going to help them get momentum."

Both Boucher and the players emphasized that Dwayne Roloson was not at fault for any of the six goals he allowed over two periods. Roloson was pulled after 40 minutes and replaced by Mike Smith, who made his 2010-11 postseason debut in the third period. Smith stopped every shot he saw.

"You need to respect the player too," Boucher said of yanking Roloson. "You need to make sure you do the right thing. I think if you leave him in and you take him out with the seventh goal, people in the stands are probably screaming at him. I don't think that would be right for him. That wouldn't be respecting him. I know he wanted to stay to battle. But he also understood that by changing something, it might change the outlook of the game. It almost worked. He's the first guy to want what the team needs at that point. We certainly didn't lose confidence in Roloson. We left him alone with breakaways and 2-on-1's."

Roloson will be back in the net tonight. Boucher said he expected calmness from Roloson.

"He's built some mental tools over the years that guys don't have," Boucher said. "For him, it's a 12-hour thing. Beyond 12 hours, you can't even talk to him about it, because it doesn't exist. That's a great mental tool that takes a long time and a mature man to do that."

Praise for Bruins irks Julien

Throughout the series, Boucher and his players have been quick to compliment the Bruins. After Game 1, Boucher said he expected Tim Thomas to be at his best. After Game 2, Steven Stamkos was among the Tampa players praising Tyler Seguin after the rookie's four-point outburst.

"Tampa's been very good at complimenting our team. They do a really good job of that," Julien said. "I think Tampa's got some pretty good speed themselves, with [Martin] St. Louis and those kinds of guys. [Steven] Stamkos. They've got the same kinds of players. I think they're pretty well-served on their side. I don't think they're worried so much about Tyler more than they want to flatter him. We know the mind games that teams play. Right now, we're just focused on what we have to do here. If anything, I would be more tempted to compliment my own players like St. Louis and those kinds of guys when it comes to speed."

Expected Lightning lineup

Ryan Malone-Steven Stamkos-Martin St. Louis
Simon Gagne-Vincent Lecavalier-Teddy Purcell
Sean Bergenheim-Dominic Moore-Steve Downie
Randy Jones-Nate Thompson-Adam Hall

Eric Brewer-Mattias Ohlund
Victor Hedman-Brett Clark
Mike Lundin-Marc-Andre Bergeron

Dwayne Roloson
Mike Smith

Expected Bruins lineup

Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi
Michael Ryder-Chris Kelly-Tyler Seguin
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Rich Peverley

Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Tomas Kaberle-Adam McQuaid

Tim Thomas
Tuukka Rask