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Lightning-Bruins: Why Tampa Bay couldn’t capitalize on its scoring chances

There's at least one big reason why the Lightning couldn't cash in on its many scoring chances Saturday in Game 1
Feeling the loss, from left, are Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71), Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi (5) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) at the conclusion the third period of Saturdays (4/28/18) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Second Round semifinal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

TAMPA — The Lightning trailed 3-2 after two periods Saturday and felt pretty good about that, given all its scoring chances during the first 40 minutes. Problem was, it did not capitalize on most of them, which is one reason the Bruins pulled away for a 6-2 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal.

"You look at that second period and coming out of that down 3-2 it feels like it could have been 4-3 us or whatever," D Anton Stralman said. "But there's no point of throwing a lot of what ifs? It's 6-2 at the end of the day."
The top line of J.T. Miller, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov combined for eight shots on net and zero goals.

"If the guys are getting chances, that means they're putting themselves in the right position," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "They're working hard to get chances and they're getting chances. Sometimes they finish them, sometimes they don't."

The reason they did not was because of Bruins G Tuukka Rask.

"I thought there were times we were playing extremely well. We had good opportunities," C Tyler Johnson said. "Tuukka made some good saves. A couple of those go in, that changes a lot of things."

Rask, who was pulled from Game 5 in Toronto during the first-round series and was shaky early in Game 7, stopped 34 of 36 shots and allowed only one even-strength goal.

"He was really good. He gave us more of a chance to win early on when we were still trying to find our legs," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We weren't executing very well. They were better than us."

Said Stamkos: "We had close to 40 shots. He made some good saves. You have to give credit where credit is due.

"Hopefully we'll score on more chances and possess the puck like we did. If anything, you can take away from a tough loss like (Saturday), we did have the puck in their end. We utilized our speed. We have to get to the net with a little more authority."

Digging Tampa in the spring

There is something about Amalie Arena and the postseason that brings out the best in Bruins LW Rick Nash.

He has five goals and nine points in his last three playoff games played in the building dating to the 2015 Eastern Conference final when he was a member of the Rangers.

Nash, who scored twice Saturday, had two goals and an assist in Game 4 of the 2015 East final and a goal and three assists in Game 6.

He said it

"I think in the playoffs every game is important. You don't want to dig ourselves a hole. We have to get out of this right now."

C Tyler Johnson, on the importance of winning Game 2

Number of the day


C Brayden Point's  rating after an afternoon of trying to stop Boston's top line. That's something you do not see often.

Blue-line special

The Lightning's offense came from D Dan Girardi, who scored his first playoff goal, and D Mikhail Sergachev, who scored his second in as many playoff games. D Victor Hedman was tied for the team lead with five shots on goal.

Contact Roger Mooney at Follow @rogermooney50