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Tampa Bay Lightning beats Boston Bruins 5-2 in Game 1 of East final

BOSTON — A game between nontraditional rivals after both teams had extended time off.

The way Bruins coach Claude Julien saw it, those factors made Saturday night's opener of the Eastern Conference final between Boston and the Lightning a huge game.

"To make sure you're set to go for a tough series," he said.

It was the Lightning that started off right with a 5-2 victory at TD Garden that featured two Tampa Bay goals in 19 seconds and three in 1 minute, 25 seconds, in the first period. Both are team playoff records.

Sean Bergenheim, Brett Clark and Teddy Purcell scored in the first and Marc-Andre Bergeron and Simon Gagne in the third as the Lightning won its eighth straight playoff game and team-record sixth straight on the road.

Dwayne Roloson outdid Bruins goalie Tim Thomas with 29 saves, tying him with Jacques Plante for consecutive wins (eight) by a goalie 40 or older.

If any rust was on these teams after layoffs of 10 days for Tampa Bay and eight for the Bruins, it didn't show. A spirited first period had Boston leading 12-10 in shots and the Lightning up 3-1.

Tampa Bay went on a scoring spree with three goals in 1:25 to take a 3-0 lead with 7:20 left.

Bergenheim started the onslaught with his eighth goal, and seventh in his past seven games, after a scramble in front of the net in which Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg, trying to clear the puck, kicked it to Bergenheim.

It was 2-0 19 seconds later when Clark drove the right wing and lofted what seemed to be an easy backhander at Thomas. But the puck deflected in off the goaltender, a goal he certainly wants back.

Purcell made it 3-0 with 7:20 left after he stole the puck from Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle behind the net and got two backhands off at Thomas before the puck trickled in.

Boston got one back with 4:01 left when rookie forward Tyler Seguin, playing his first playoff game, turned Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin inside out. Lundin fell, and Seguin had a clear path to the net, where he beat Roloson.

The second period featured some great goaltending from Thomas, and it began 3:43 in on a Lightning power play. Thomas' initial save on Clark's point shot produced a rebound in the slot. Ryan Malone picked up the puck and got off a spin-o-rama shot that Thomas stopped with a quick right-leg save.

Roloson answered at 5:53.

Boston's Michael Ryder picked up a loose puck along the right-wing boards and charged the net. His shot glanced off Roloson's shoulder; the goalie did not give Ryder much at which to shoot.

Thomas was sharp again at 6:36. Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier executed a give-and-go that enabled St. Louis to get free on the right wing. Thomas didn't flinch and made an arm save off St. Louis from in close.

Steve Downie threw his head back in frustration with 5:50 left after he received a puck in front of the Bruins net and seemingly had an empty net at which to shoot. But Thomas sprawled to his right to make an impressive glove save.

Bergeron's third-period goal and Gagne's empty-net goal made it 5-1.

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Boston Bruins 5-2 in Game 1 of East final 05/14/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:29pm]

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