TAMPA — The Bruins top line played like the top line in the NHL and goalie Tuukka Rask took care of the rest as Boston cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Lightning Saturday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals .
Game 2 is 7 p.m. Monday at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning trail in a series for the first time this postseason. It also lost at home for the first time in four games.
The Bruins, fresh off a seven-game series against the Maple Leafs in the first round, did not seem tired from the two off days between series, while the Lightning did not capitalize on its six days of rest since ousting the Devils.
The Bruins never trailed.
The Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak line, who combined for 228 points during the regular season and 21 in the seven games against the Leafs. It scored 11 points Saturday.
Marchand scored the back-breaking goal early in the third when he deflected a slap-pass from Charlie McAvoy past Andrei Vasilevskiy. Marchand, who set up his goal by chasing the puck down behind the net and feeding to his teammates out front. He stationed himself in front of the net to Vasilevskiy's right and remained there unchecked until he scored.
Bergeron, left unattended in front of the net for the second time in the game, made it a three-goal game midway through the period.
Jake DeBrusk scored an empty-netter with seven minutes to play after coach Jon Cooper pulled Andrei Vasilevskiy during a power play and kept him on the bench in an effort to cut into what was a three-goal deficit.
The Bruins did what the Devils could not do during the first round against the Lightning, score the first goal in a game played at Amalie Arena.
Rick Nash scored eight seconds into a power play late in the first period. It was the first time the Lightning trailed during four home games this postseason.
Ryan Callahan was whistled for a tripping penalty behind the Bruins net. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff in his offensive zone. He got the puck to David Pastrnak, who fed Nash, who managed to bounce the puck through the pads of Vasilevskiy.
Bergeron made it 2-0 just 42 seconds into the second when he was left alone to the right of Vasilevskiy. Pastrnak found him with the pass, and Bergeron scored on a one-timer.
The Lightning responded less than two minutes later with a goal from an unlikely source — Dan Girardi.
Girardi blasted a shot through traffic from the blueline to cut the Bruins lead in half.
The teams traded goals with Nash getting his second goal on a blistering shot that clanged around the posts inside the net before bouncing out. The officials took a look at replay just to make sure the puck was actually in the net. It was.
That was Nash's fifth goal in his last three playoff games at Amalie Arena. He combined for three while with the Rangers during Games 4 and 6 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals.
Mikhail Sergachev made it a one-goal game again less than a minute later with a power play goal. It was his second goal of the postseason.
Rask lost the blade of his skate moments before Sergachev scored. He complained to the official after the puck went in the net, to no effect. . He threw his blade toward the boards before awkwardly skating toward the bench for a pit stop.
Contact Roger Mooney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @rogermooney50