WILMINGTON, Mass. — Bruins head coach Claude Julien knows there’s more to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who Boston will face in the Eastern Conference finals, than just great goaltending from Dwayne Roloson and tons of offensive firepower from Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis.
“I think that the one thing they do well is they got a good compete level. They come and they play hard every game and they’ve got their own kind of system that they believe in and has served them well,” said the coach today during a press conference at Ristuccia Arena while his team took a second straight day off. “People talk a lot about the neutral zone and that’s one of their strengths. And not only do they play a certain way, but they alternate. You won’t always see the 1-3-1, you might see that 1-2-2. They try to keep the team on their heels there a little bit with that.
“And obviously the offensive zone .. .a lot of pucks are going to the net. They always have somebody going there. They’re really a driven team and they’ve made it hard on teams they’ve played against so far in the playoffs and have had success at it.”
The Lightning got by Pittsburgh in seven games and then obliterated top-seeded Washington in four straight in the conference semifinals. In their victory over the Capitals, the Lightning — like the Bruins in their wins over Montreal and Philadelphia — received contributions in all areas of the game from numerous different sources.
“But what has given them some success, especially in the playoffs, has been their third and fourth lines have done a pretty good job for them. Everybody is talking about St. Louis, [Vinny] LeCavalier, Stamkos, [Ryan] Malone, those kind of guys,” explained Julien. “But [Sean] Bergenheim, and [Dominic] Moore and those kind of guys and [Nate] Thompson, are all playing pretty hard and I think that has helped them a lot. They are a team, like I said, that competes very hard. And that’s what makes them successful. And to me, they outworked Washington, there was no doubt about that. And they are a committed group, and you can tell just by watching the games.”
The Bruins will have to be just as committed if not more once the best-of-seven series gets underway.