BOSTON — The mood inside the Bruins locker room following practice Thursday wasn't exactly somber. But it certainly was serious. You do get the sense that the Lightning's dominant 4-1 victory in Game 3 has the Bruins a bit rattled.
"Pretty much every aspect of the game, we have to be better," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said.
Usually a team playing at home for the first time in a series has all the jump. The Lightning, however, was a total buzzkill to the Boston party thanks to two goals by Ondrej Palat in the first four minutes.
Boston cut the lead to 2-1, but the Lightning gained the two-goal lead back just a couple of minutes later. Then it cruised to a victory. Only a brief push by the Bruins to start the second period threatened Tampa Bay.
"They finished first in the conference for a reason," Bruins forward David Krejci said. "That's a good team."
Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said he expects the Bruins to play their best game of the series Friday night, which echoed what was being said in the Boston dressing room.
"It does begin with the start," Bruins forward David Backes said. "That has to be better."
It was a tad surprising that the NHL didn't take a look at the nasty hit Backes delivered against Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi in Game 3.
Backes seemed to start skating from about New Hampshire before hitting Girardi squarely in the back, driving Girardi's head into the glass. More surprising is that Girardi was able to get up and continue playing.
Lightning forward Cedric Paquette, meantime, tried to dish out his own discipline by fighting Backes.
"Honestly, I didn't expect Backes to do that play, but I saw out of the corner of my eyes that he hit Girardi from behind so I had to step up," Paquette said. "That's my role, and I thought I did a good job."
This and that
Don't bite on any rumors you might hear that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is going to the Maple Leafs to become their GM. Yzerman seems set on being with the Lightning for years to come. … Hedman had two assists in Game 3, giving him 35 in the postseason. That ties him with Marty St. Louis for the most playoff assists in franchise history. … The Lightning had a regular practice Thursday at the Bruins' swanky new practice facility. Tampa Bay could not practice at TD Garden because the Celtics were hosting the 76ers in the NBA playoffs.