Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Bruins hope to snuff Lightning firepower

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

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Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, left, covers the face of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St. Louis, right, after making a save during a regular-season game earlier this year. Thomas and his teammates expect to see a lot of St. Louis and his linemate Steven Stamkos in the Eastern Conference final.  (Charles Krupa/Associated Press) Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, left, covers the face of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Martin St. Louis, right, after making a save during a regular-season game earlier this year. Thomas and his teammates expect to see a lot of St. Louis and his linemate Steven Stamkos in the Eastern Conference final. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)

Series schedule set

The Bruins and Lightning will open the Eastern Conference final on Saturday at TD Garden. Game 2 is next Tuesday at the Garden.

Games 3 and 4 will take place at St. Pete Times Forum on Thursday, May 19, and Saturday, May 21. The Lightning had to reclaim rink availability for Games 3 and 4 from Disney On Ice, which had booked Toy Story 3 at the Forum from May 19-22.

"At least it gives us some clarity on what we have to do here for the rest of the week," Claude Julien said. "You're sitting there waiting for what's going to happen. It wasn't easy for anybody."

The Lightning will have had nine days off between their series-clinching win over Washington and Game 1 on Saturday.

"It's a long time. It's a long time," Guy Boucher told Tampa reporters on Monday. "It's teaching, it's video, it's practicing. At some point, it's, 'Let's get on the ice and play.' We're trying to change it up every day."

Because the series will not start until Saturday, the Bruins will not practice tomorrow. They will practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for the start of the series.

"Guys do need their rest," Julien said. "What has to happen through all that is they can't lose their focus. You have to be able to balance that. As a coach, you have to put a lot of trust and responsibility on players not to lose that. At the same time, it's important for us to make sure the practices are good practices. Guys are kept sharp. The intensity's kept up. We've got to be able to get that message across."

If necessary, Game 5 will be on May 23 in Boston. Game 6 will be in Tampa on May 25. Game 7 will be in Boston on May 27.

Heavy artillery for Bolts

Like most Tampa Bay opponents, the Bruins will be especially wary of Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, and Vincent Lecavalier, the Lightning's top three guns. With St. Louis and Stamkos most likely skating together, Zdeno Chara will be sure to get plenty of shifts against the first line.

Boston's second pairing of Andrew Ference and Johnny Boychuk could see regular work against the second line of Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, and Teddy Purcell.

"You've just got to make sure you know who they are," Julien said. "You've got to make sure you know when they're on the ice and what they're capable of doing. Hopefully they're thinking the same way about our players. We've handled other teams pretty well. We're going to have to handle those guys just as well if we plan on having success."

Bergeron improving

Patrice Bergeron, who suffered a concussion last Friday, reported to the Garden Tuesday for treatment.

"He's here today because he's feeling better," Julien said. "If anything, we're getting some positive feedback from him."

The Bruins are still assuming that Bergeron will not be available for the start of the series. In practice today, Chris Kelly remained in Bergeron's spot on the second line between Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi.

Kelly had been wearing a cage since suffering a facial injury in Game 3 against Montreal in the first round. Today, Kelly ditched the cage for the first time and went back to the shield.

Tyler Seguin, a healthy scratch against Montreal and Philadelphia, practiced on the third line with Michael Ryder and Rich Peverley.

Kubina doubtful for Game 1

Pavel Kubina, out with a head injury, is not likely to be ready for Game 1. Simon Gagne will be available... Zdeno Chara was given today off. "He's a big guy that get a lot of ice time for us," Julien said. "It's an opportunity to give him some rest. The one thing we know about Z is he's certainly never going to be out of shape."... Steven Kampfer practiced with his teammates for the first time today. Kampfer had been sidelined since April 9, when he suffered a knee injury while playing for Providence, Boston's AHL affiliate. On March 3, Kampfer suffered a concussion when he was belted by Tampa forward Mattias Ritola. Kampfer is the No. 8 defenceman on the depth chart.