Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Bergeron just fine in return

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

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Boston's Patrice Bergeron, right, had two shots, 64 per cent winning percentage on the draw, and 19:13 of ice time in his return to the lineup. (Chris O'Meara/Associated Press) Boston's Patrice Bergeron, right, had two shots, 64 per cent winning percentage on the draw, and 19:13 of ice time in his return to the lineup. (Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)
After being medically cleared to play in Game 3, Boston's Patrice Bergeron responded with his usual workmanlike game: two shots, 64 per cent winning percentage on the draw, 19:13 of ice time. Bergeron played his usual spot on the No. 2 line between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.

"When I spoke to Patrice today when he was cleared, my first question to him was, 'Are you comfortable coming back?' There was no doubt in his mind," coach Claude Julien said. "He said, 'I'm fine. I'm ready to go.' That was something that was important for everybody.

"I really liked the way he played. Obviously you see the difference he can make for our hockey club faceoff-wise, but also his responsibility at both ends of the ice. His line was definitely better. His linemates obviously felt comfortable because they've been with him all year. There was some chemistry there."

Bergeron hadn't played since May 6 because of a concussion. He was belted by Philadelphia's Claude Giroux during the third period of Game 4 in their second-round series. It was Bergeron's third concussion as an NHLer.

"Obviously I wasn't very happy," said Bergeron. "I was pretty disappointed, especially at that time of the year. You want to be out there. You want to help your team.

"But I thought I stayed pretty positive in the process again. Obviously it's behind me. I'm looking forward. I'm happy it was mild like it was."

Rich Peverley, who had skated in Bergeron's spot in Game 2, moved to right wing on the fourth line. Shawn Thornton, the usual No. 4 right wing, was a healthy scratch.

Critical mistake buries Lightning

Just 69 seconds into the night, the Bruins had scored the only goal they needed, thanks to a series of defensive breakdowns by Tampa Bay. Milan Lucic beat Tampa's Brett Clark to a loose puck in the right corner. Victor Hedman should have remained in front of the net, but the defenceman also chased after Lucic.

Lightning forward Dominic Moore cut off Lucic's passing lane to Nathan Horton at the right circle. But Steve Downie should have come down to fill the hole Hedman left in front of the net. Downie didn't get there, and David Krejci was all alone in front of the net.

"They were all focused on Nathan in the slot there," Lucic said. "I saw five black sweaters and I saw a stick there. I knew that's where Krech was. Even though I didn't see him, I just saw his stick so I put it there."

Krejci pulled the puck to his backhand and beat Dwayne Roloson at 1:09 of the first.

"We were supposed to have somebody in front of the net, and that person wasn't there," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's a very simple read. But when you're eager to get on the ice sometimes, that will make you make some mistakes. Obviously it's a costly one, and we paid for it."

Thomas stuffs Lightning

Tim Thomas stuffed the Lightning 31 times to earn his second career playoff shutout. Thomas was at his best in the first period, when he turned back the Lightning's two best players. First, Thomas kicked out his right pad to turn back Vincent Lecavalier. Then when Martin St. Louis was there for a follow-up bid, Thomas stoned his former college teammate.

"I spun around, got to the center of the net, and was fortunate to get a leg around it," Thomas said of Lecavalier's shot.

Thomas made 15 saves in the third period. But most of them were standard saves given the way his teammates played in front of him.

"He'll give credit to the people in front of him," said Julien. "I think it's very deserving, because our team did play well in front of him. But when they had some great opportunities, he was also there to make the big saves. I think it's really one of those games where you want to spread the credit around."