It appears the Boston Bruins may have left their "Keys to Game 3" checklist in the visiting team's locker room at TD Garden.
Avoid a flat start. Be physical. Get more shots on net. Win puck battles. No defensive-zone turnovers. Establish secondary scoring.
Andrej Palat scored twice, 1:32 apart, and Anthony Cirelli netted his first career playoff goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-1 first-period lead, en route to 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins Wednesday night.
The Lightning now lead the Eastern Conference playoff series 2-1.
There was a brief momentum shift for the B's in the first period as Tuukka Rask (33 saves) made a sprawling stick save on J.T. Miller to keep the deficit at two while Riley Nash was sitting in the penalty box for Roughing. Tommy Wingels, who was inserted into the lineup in place of Tim Schaller on the fourth line, established some physical presence and gave Boston some offensive-zone time. And Patrice Bergeron scored a power play goal going five hole on Andrei Vasilevskiy (28 saves) from between the dots to put the B's on the board.
But the shift was short-lived as Charlie McAvoy took a penalty for roughing and Cirelli answered with his goal to close out the first 20 minutes.
The Bruins did tighten up a bit in the second keeping the Lightning off the board; however, they weren't able to generate any scoring of their own.
Both teams were kept off the board in the third period, as well, until Steven Stamkos got his first goal of the series with an empty netter with just under a minute remaining.
If Boston is to make this second round series go deep, they must find a way to re-energize. The Black and Gold may have taken advantage of some Tampa Bay rust in Game 1, while the Bolts rested for a week after easily eliminating New Jersey in the first round. The grueling late-season schedule, plus a tough seven-game series against Toronto, might be finally catching up with the Bruins.
When the Bruins have won this postseason, their first line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak has been virtually unstoppable. In the losses, they have been noticeably absent.
Expect some desperation from Boston in Game 4 on Friday, as heading back to Tampa down 3-1 would be disappointing. The Bruins are 4-3 against the Lightning this season, including the playoffs, and two of the three losses came at Amalie Arena.
The series continues at 7 p.m. Friday at the TD Garden. Game time is 7 p.m.
Notes: Schaller had suited up in all 82 regular-season games for the Bruins plus each of the team's playoff games before Wednesday. The Bruins have been outshot in each of the three second-round games (36-24, 31-20 and 37-29).