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Tampa Bay Lightning third line not looking to repeat East semifinal performance

LOOK AND LISTEN: Lightning coach Guy Boucher runs through topics during practice Friday at TD Garden in Boston.

DIRK SHADD | Times

LOOK AND LISTEN: Lightning coach Guy Boucher runs through topics during practice Friday at TD Garden in Boston.

BOSTON — The Lightning's third line of C Dominic Moore, Sean Bergenheim and Steve Downie got lots of publicity for its performance in the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Capitals, in which it had 13 points and key goals.

But the players said that doesn't mean they must repeat that against the Bruins.

"We just have to play the same way because we bring momentum to our team," said Bergenheim, whose seven goals are tied for the playoff lead (with three players whose teams have been eliminated: Nashville's Joel Ward and Philadelphia's Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk).

"When it comes to goal scoring, we don't feel any more pressure. We hope to chip in here and there, but the main focus is to the play the same way, because for a third line to bring momentum is very important."

How well are those three playing? Bergenheim said they have "that kind of on-ice connection that you don't have to think where you are."

"We realize that line has been very good for them, and that's part of playoff success," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "When you get contributions from different players and not always relying on the same guys, that's the key to success."

The challenge, Moore said, will be maintaining a level of play, not counting points.

"Whether we're producing points or not, we make contributions regardless," he said.

BEST YET?: The Lightning's practice Friday at TD Garden was its best of the week, C Steven Stamkos said. That's a good sign given the team hasn't played in 10 days. "Guys were crisp, passes were good," he said. "You could feel the anxiousness and excitement (Friday). Guys were looking good."

Said coach Guy Boucher: "We looked okay."

UNDER THE RADAR: It hasn't gotten much notice, but RW Teddy Purcell is tied for second in the playoffs with 10 assists (with Downie, Boston's injured Patrice Bergeron and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler), and his 11 points are fourth on the team while he averages a modest 12:58 of ice time.

"Everybody talks about Bergenheim and Moore, but he's one of the guys who has stepped up," Boucher said.

"I'm contributing, and we're winning," Purcell said. "I've been on teams in the past, in L.A., where we were winning but I wasn't playing. But now when you're contributing and helping the team create chances and playing solid defensively, it feels a lot better."

MEDICAL MATTERS: Julien said Bergeron (concussion) continues to improve. … Lightning F Dana Tyrell (foot) skated with the team but wore a red no-contact jersey. … D Pavel Kubina (concussionlike symptoms) did not make the trip.

PREDICTIONS: The Lightning might enjoy the underdog role, but it is getting much love from prognosticators. The Hockey News and Toronto's Star newspaper say Tampa Bay will win the series in seven games. ESPN.com says the Lightning in six (though ESPN analyst and former Lightning coach Barry Melrose picked the Bruins). Even the Boston Herald picks the Lightning in seven.

watch parties: The Lightning is hosting free watch parties for Games 1 and 2 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. The 8 p.m. games will be shown outdoors on the west plaza. Fans can bring blankets, lawn chairs and coolers with food and nonalcoholic drinks. Food and alcoholic beverages will be sold, and there will be activities on the plaza before the game. Free parking will be available in the west and east lots.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Lightning third line not looking to repeat East semifinal performance 05/13/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 13, 2011 10:16pm]
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