May 20th, 2011 by

Eastern Conference Finals Q & A with TB Lightning Examiner

(Photo: Bridget Samuels/Ikeastan Hockey) Thomas was rock solid in Game 3

Back with another installment of the Eastern Conference Finals Q & A with Tampa Bay Lightning Examiner, Althea Pashman.

Mark Marino: The Lightning breezed through the Washington Capitals in the previous round. Do you think the Bruins’ defensive system is giving Tampa Bay a particularly tough time with not only their top-players and lines (Stamkos, St. Louis) but with their depth (Bergenheim, Moore etc.) that was so effective versus the Caps?

Althea Pashman: I think the biggest problem is that the Lightning are still having a difficult time sticking to their system… which is giving the Bruins defensive system the opportunities. It seems that some of the players are trying to do too much, too soon rather than holding in their position and waiting for the right opportunity.

MM: There’s no questioning Steven Stamkos’ sniping ability. We saw him score a goal top-shelf on Thomas in Game 2 that only one or two other players in the NHL could pull-off. People in Boston are still talking about that off-wing snap-shot…and the laser he ripped off the crossbar on a 2-on-1 with St. Louis last night. Being his one-and-only goal against Boston through three games, do you feel as if he’s the one player on the club that needs to start taking over for the Bolts this series?

AP: Yeah, I really think that if he was able to put a few behind Thomas it certainly would give the team a boost. What I’ve noticed about Stamkos is that he’s a streaky goal scorer – once he gets going he could rack’em very quickly.

Although his goals have been few and far in-between he has played well and continues to make plays and has been adding helpers along the way.

AP: Last night was the first look for Guy Boucher and the Bolts with Patrice Bergeron back in the Bruins’ lineup. How much of a different factor was he — especially his defensive play — that game from the Lightning point of view?

In all honesty and this is just my opinion I really think the Lightning were just a bit cautious around him, specifically on the face-offs – but, then again the Lightning seemed to be a bit tentative all night.

MM: Naturally, a team that never scores never wins. But in Games 1 & 2, Tampa Bay blocked 17 shots in each contest. Last night, just nine. Do you think the D are struggling in front of Roloson, or maybe Boston has figured them out?

AP: Good question – No, the defense isn’t struggling in front of Roloson and Boston hasn’t figured them out. In last night’s game Boucher decided to go with six defenseman instead of his usual seven and I think that was the main reason. It’s a different game when Boucher goes with 6 d-men… that’s a stat [blocked shots] I’d really like to see compared.

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