Boston took a penalty early. Like, 40 seconds early. Not ideal. With the pressure on the advantage, Tampa set up shop in the B’s defensive zone and kept the Bruins hemmed for much of the early going. A second penalty with just under 13 minutes left in the first - Nick Ritchie, slashing - gave Tampa the opportunity to set up in Boston’s heads. And they would.
Ondrej Palat picked right up where he left off and scored on a nice one-timer, tip-top shelf. That’s a hard shot to save no matter who is in net.
Moments later, Yanni Gourde was donated a skating lane and roofed the cross-crease play to put Tampa in front, 2-0, in a quarter of a minute. I don’t know who to call interference on here but it’s somebody. Maybe on Lauzon just to teach him a lesson. Poor Jaro out to dry by his defense.
It was as if they took a straight shot to the jaw - Boston was just stunned. There were stretches of “better”, but there was not much forward pressure from the Bruins for the rest of the period. The top line looked awake but that was about it, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo were playthings to the Bolts’ most skilled forwards.
Another early penalty on Boston - two minutes for a high-stick at the hands of he-who-does-not-penalize Patrice Bergeron. Tampa’s power play scored about halfway through off the stick of Mikhail Sergachev, to make it 3-0 Lightning.
GOAL!— Boston Bruins on CLNS (@BruinsCLNS) August 27, 2020
Mikhail Sergachev with a one-timer on the PP.
Bruins: 0 pic.twitter.com/VRNpsw9rRg
Boston had the benefit of a tripping call to Zach Bogosian, and scored on their first - and only - power play to finally get on the board.
Three minutes later, a bad follow-through check by Charlie McAvoy gave Tampa yet another opportunity on the advantage. They wasted no time, and Alex Killorn cleaned up the net-front mess. 4-1. The GIFs end here, be forewarned.
Strange to see in the moment was Dan Vladar, of zero games’ NHL experience, warming up in the tunnel separate from the bench before and after a commercial break at the midway point of the 2nd (yes, we’re still in the second period). It felt warranted, and right. The narrative of the game commentary immediately centered on Vladar, and within mere moments, Brayden Point slipped behind the B’s defense to receive a long pass and completely undress the rookie. Of course, having half of your defensive pair tangled in a pile at the other end of the ice is not going to help with that. Oh, and after the fighting penalties to Torey Krug and Tyler Johnson, Killorn scored off a big bounce-pass off the end-boards behind Vladar. Splendid. 6-1. MOVING ON.
Lots of trash talk on Boston during the intermission, leaving Vladar out to dry. As if they hadn’t been putting Halak on an island all night so far. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Kucherov, 7-1. It looked like he was trying to do his no-move shootout deke in really tight quarters, and almost succeeded. McAvoy took a game misconduct going for a retaliation penalty following a looked-questionable/was-actually-legal open ice shoulder check on Par Lindholm. In a bold show of defiance, Patrice Bergeron took a delay of game penalty with under four minutes to play. Bold move, Cotton. (It did not work out for them.)
Honestly, though there is some expectation that a professional athlete might be ready to step in at a moment’s notice... no one expected Vladar to play a second in these playoffs, and AHL goalies don’t get called up just to usurp a starter in the playoffs... at least, not on purpose. Rask’s absence is fine. If Halak had been playing hot and earned a playoff start as the regular season was starting to look, then he plays and Rask is there to step back in. It’s just unfortunate that Vladar is not at that ‘challenger’ stage of his career (and may never be), and yet is being asked to step in on an enormous task.