BOSTON The first Eastern Conference Finals involving the Bruins since the 1991-92 season certainly didnt start out the way Boston had envisioned, but as the Bs found out while coming back from 0-2 against the Montreal Canadiens there is still plenty of time to jump back into the series.
The Bruins are down 0-1 after a brutal first period that featured some notable brain cramps and an inability match what the Tampa Bay Lightning are bringing to the playoff table. Here are five adjustments that the Bruins need to make after the Game One loss in order to get back into the series:
1) Play Tyler Seguin more, and put him on the power play. Every playoff series has its own matchup issues and strengths and weaknesses, and its pretty clear that the Tampa Bay Lightning have speed and offense skill in great abundance. Its certainly not going to turn into a grinding grudge match, and thats exactly the kind of rapid, high-flying style of play that can favor a gifted youngster like Seguin. The Bs rookie showed off just how comfortable he feels against the Bolts in Game One when he collected two points, and enjoyed a lot of success stretching Tampas defense by virtue of his great speed. The two shifts and 1:51 of ice time in the second period was a woeful mistake by the Bs coaching staff, and his elevation to a line with Brad Marchand and Chris Kelly in the third period seemed to be a sign of admiration from another GM. Theres really no reason Mark Recchi finished with 20:02 against the speed merchant Lightning and Seguin couldnt even top 10 minutes of ice time.
2) The Bruins coaching staff needs to be ready for anything. Claude Julien and Bruins answered all kinds of questions about the 1-3-1 trap employed in the neutral zone by Tampa coach Guy Boucher but thats the exact opposite of what Boucher and the Lightning started the series with. Boucher opened the game with a pair of fore-checkers wreaking havoc deep in the Boston end, and that aggressive style led to two of Tampas three goals in the first period. Thomas Kaberle looked woefully unprepared for a heavy fore-check when he coughed up the puck to Teddy Purcell to make it 3-0 Tampa. Given that Boucher pulled something out of his hat for Game One with the fore-checking strategy and has confused the Boston coaching staff with different fore-checks with the same game this season. Boucher and Co. did well forcing the action on Julien in the series opening game, and now Boucher is forcing the tempo on the Celtics rather than the other one.
3) Lucic, Krejci and Horton get involved The Bs top line didnt see a defensemen corps imposing enough to defeat then, and the Boston trio are getting all kinds of juicy chances around the net. Erick Brewer and Matthias Ohlund arent exactly Hal Gill and P.K. Subban, and wont adequately hold down the Bs trio in their efforts to feel more comfortable attacking the net.
4) Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were both held off the scoreboard and lost it against the Canadiens on behalf of the Bruins when the team announced that theyll be hanging out in Prison. Its important that they keep at it offensively -- as Bruins gained some traction while attacking Tampa over the first few games.
5) The Bruins have to do whatever they can to help speed up the healing process and get Patrice Bergeron returned to the ice this week. Whispers were circulated after Saturday nights Game 1 loss that some of the Bergerons teammates feel hell be back for action in Game Two at TD Garden on Tuesday night. Bergeron had no points in four regular season games against the Lightning this season and managed a minus-1 for his efforts. Brad Marchand and Mark Recchi were both unremarkable on the wings without Bergeron in the middle in Game One, and the Tampa goalie really looked every shape on a couple of minutes. Thats not even mentioning David Krejci winning only three out of 18 face-offs, and the whole team struggling against the Tampa Bay centers.