After the first two games of the Eastern Conference final produced a total 18 goals, Game 3 Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum went in the opposite direction.
The Bruins beat the Lightning 2-0 in a close-checking contest that featured fine goaltending by Boston's Tim Thomas and Tampa Bay's Dwayne Roloson, and the Bruins took a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series in front of a sellout crowd of 21,027.
David Krejci scored 1:09 into the game after a defensive gaff by Tampa Bay. Tyler Seguin scored his fourth goal of the series 8:12 into the third period.
Boston also got a boost from the return of center Patrice Bergeron, who missed the first two games with concussion symptoms.
The Lightning's penalty kill, which allowed two goals in a 6-5 Game 2 loss, returned to form, killing all three Boston power plays. But Tampa Bay's power play was 0-for-3.
Tampa Bay did not storm Thomas, but the goalie made 31 saves for his second career playoff shutout and came up big when he had to. He also got a bit of luck in the second period when Steven Stamkos whizzed a wrist shot off the crossbar.
The Lightning had the better of play in the first period and outshot the Bruins 10-8. But one Tampa Bay mistake led to Krejci's goal, and the Bruins also won 14 of 18 faceoffs.
Boston took the lead 1:09 into the period when a giveaway by Lightning defenseman Brett Clark and bad positioning by defenseman Victor Hedman left Krejci alone in front of the net. Roloson did not have a chance as Krejci, unchecked, deked him out of position.
From there, the Lightning took off and at one point had a 7-3 lead in shots. And Thomas had to be sharp during a serious Tampa Bay flurry that featured leg saves on wrist shots by Teddy Purcell and Vinny Lecavalier within five seconds and a block of Marty St. Louis' shot by Dennis Seidenberg six seconds after that.
Roloson had to be sharp with 9:39 left as Gregory Campbell launched a spin-o-rama shot. Roloson made the save but did not know where the puck was under him, prompting a scramble in the crease in which Campbell took an extra swipe at Roloson.
Simon Gagne came to Roloson's defense, and both players received two minutes for roughing.
Tampa Bay had a great chance with St. Louis and Lecavalier on a two-on-one with 8:09 remaining. But St. Louis' cross-ice pass was knocked away by the long stick of 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Lightning coach Guy Boucher was as animated as he has been all season after Marc-Andre Bergeron was called for elbowing Krejci with 2:31 remaining. Replays showed Bergeron hit Krejci legally with his shoulder, and Boucher gave referee Steve Kozari an earful.
The Bruins had a 12-6 advantage in shots, but both goalies had moments when they had to shine, and the period ended 1-0 for Boston.
Roloson had the first big save 21 seconds into the second period. After a takeaway by Brad Marchand, Bergeron had an open shot on left wing, but Roloson got to his right quickly and made the save.
Thomas showed skill with 6:51 left with a right-foot save on Lecavalier's blast from the slot.
Roloson answered with a left-leg save on Rich Peverly from in close at the end of a two-on-one, and another save on Peverley's rebound try.
Seguin made it 2-0 in the third when he deflected in Andrew Ference's shot from the point and the puck trickled through Roloson's legs