Game 3 preview: Lightning try to reclaim home ice as series vs. Bruins shifts to Boston
TV: NBC Sports
TIME: 7 p.m. (Postgame coverage live on FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Go)
But the Lightning, clearly having shaken the rust of their layoff before Game 1, had other ideas, evening the series.
Still, the Bruins left Tampa having captured the home-ice advantage they lost by playing poorly down the stretch of the regular season to finish a point behind the Lightning in both the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
Now, it’s a best of five with three set at TD Garden, the first of those Wednesday night in Game 3 of the conference semifinal.
“It’s 1-1. We’re in the playoffs, you’re not gonna walk through teams,” Brad Marchand said after the Game 2 loss. “We have home-ice advantage now, we’ll go home. This game’s over, it’s done with, and we’ll move on.”
The Bruins weren’t thrilled with the officiating Monday night, but they also know they have to play better.
The Lightning knew they had to be better than they were in the opener.
“We talked about trying to turn the page, that’s what we had to do,” said Tyler Johnson. “We had to realize that it was only one game. We can come back and we expect better from ourselves. I thought tonight we had a really good game as a line. I thought Point and Pally played outstanding, and if we continue to do that, we’ll be good.”
They also know they have to be better with the series changing venues.
“I’ve been in that situation before, it’s a hostile environment,” defenseman Victor Hedman said Tuesday. “But these are fun games. This is what you want to play for and want to go through. We are playing a tough team. It’s a tough building to play in, but so is ours. So we are ready to play our game, play good road games and hopefully (get) two wins.”
The officials were roundly criticized for their work in Game 2, none louder than NBCSN’s Jeremy Roenick.
“We hate to harp on the refs sometimes,” Roenick said. “But tonight they deserve to get harped on because of the rinky-dink, ticky-tack calls like they called in the first period. … It’s unacceptable, it’s got to be better, it’s too inconsistent.”
Said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy: “They impacted the game and that’s where it’s frustrating.”
The Bruins won both home games against Tampa Bay in the season series and have won three straight and four of the last five — and are 17-4-0 over the Lightning at TD Garden over the last seven years. If you want to stretch it out, the franchise has just nine wins in 54 games in Boston, including playoffs.
But while Boston was 28-8-5 at home this season, the Lightning were a more-than-respectable 25-13-3 on the road.
While the Bruins went 3-1 at home in defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games in Round 1, Tampa Bay was 1-1 in New Jersey and dispatched the upstart Devils in five.
The Bruins scored 22 goals in their four home games against Toronto.
But this is Tampa Bay.
“You don’t want to feed this team’s transition,” said rookie Charlie McAvoy. “They’re a good transition team. We pride ourselves on that. That first goal for us was a good transition. Their second goal they had was a quick transition. … That’s the way the game is going, the best teams can take advantage of opportunities there like they were able to.”