First and foremost, to all the players, coaches, management and staff of the Tampa Bay Lightning, god damn what a team. No quit, no lack of heart and enormous skill and dedication this was perhaps the finest playoff series I’ve seen in my life.
For the Bruins organization, excellent work by the team and management to win another division title, and add the conference championship to it. I adore the effort, skill and composure of this team when they bring their “A” game.
Tonight’s game exemplified Boston Bruins Hockey. The Bruins dominated the face off circle, sacrificed the body individually and collectively to block shots and lay hits at a solid pace. The discipline was unblemished. The structure could have withstood an earthquake. And players made smart, and unexpected plays. The followed my storylines to the smallest dot, and did played with consummate composure.
The key play that produced the only goal of the night was a text book demonstration of one team doing it right, and the other doing it wrong. When the Bruins advanced the puck to the redline, the Lightning backed off. When the Bruins advanced the puck to the blueline and gained entry, the Lightning backed off. When Horton was rolling down the slot, despite both defensemen and a very speedy forward between him and Krejci, the Lightning backed off. The Lightning flat out allowed the goal. They should have take away space from Krejci, lifted or tied up Horton’s stick, and filled the passing lane. With three bodies, two of them quite large there were the players in place to do it, they simply lacked the instinct or training to do so.
It was also great to see Boychuck redeem himself with a superlative and quiet effort, he was rewarded by being on the ice for the only goal of the game.
Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins will square off for four wins and a life time of dreams.