After all, veteran goaltender Dwayne Roloson — who leads all playoff netminders this spring with a 2.01 goals-against average and .941 save percentage — wasn’t with the Lightning or just didn’t play in the games Tampa Bay matched up with the Bruins.
There are other subtle differences on both rosters from the games played in the regular season. And just like the Bruins are battling injuries to Patrice Bergeron and Adam McQuaid, the Lightning haven’t had the services of forward Simon Gagne or defenseman Pavel Kubina since Game 1 of their second-round series with Washington.
For what it’s worth, here’s a look at the four games in the Boston-Tampa Bay season series:
Monday, Nov. 22
at Tampa Bay
Lightning 3, Bruins 1
Two nights after losing a shootout at home to Los Angeles, the Bruins opened their pre-Thanksgiving Florida road trip by playing just two periods against the Lightning. Tampa Bay outshot Boston, 20-8, in the second period and scored three goals on those 20 shots against Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins showed life with a 12-5 shots edge in the third period, but only Michael Ryder — with 9:22 left — was able to solve goaltender Mike Smith (26 saves).
Thursday, Dec. 2
Bruins 8, Lightning 1
It was sweet revenge for that difficult loss in Tampa by the Bruins, who built off their 3-0 win over Philadelphia the night before to ride David Krejci’s two-goal, one-assist performance to a rout of the Lightning.
Twelve Bruins players recorded at least one point and Smith was pulled after he allowed five goals on just 22 shots. Dan Ellis didn’t fare much better in relief, as the Bruins beat him three times on 10 shots.
Krejci and Nathan Horton were plus-4, while Dennis Seidenberg scored his first goal of the season by faking a dump-in and firing the puck into the open net from outside the blue line.
Tuesday, Dec. 28
at Tampa Bay
Bruins 4, Lightning 3
Behind goals by Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis (who scored the tying goal midway through the third), and 25 saves by Ellis, the Lightning seemingly had one standings point in hand until Mark Recchi struck.
The veteran forward beat Ellis with a wrister to the stick side from the high slot with just 19.7 seconds left to earn the Bruins a regulation victory. Patrice Bergeron set up the goal, which came on the power play after Steven Stamkos was called for a debatable boarding penalty on Gregory Campbell.
Tim Thomas, who finished with 31 saves, made a huge play to deny Adam Hall shorthanded just before the game-winning goal. Steven Kampfer scored his first NHL goal, and Michael Ryder and Brad Marchand also scored for Boston.
Thursday, March 3
Bruins 2, Lightning 1
Alth0ugh they’d been enjoying the play of Roloson as their starter for a while, the Lightning opted to start Smith. The Bruins took advantage on a late goal by Milan Lucic to run their winning streak to seven games. Lucic scored from a tough angle after Krejci and Horton’s chances in front result in a long rebound that trickled to the winger off of referee Rob Martell’s skate on the goal line to the left of the net.
Eric Brewer’s goal had put the Lightning ahead 4:04 into the second period before Kampfer answered 2:02 later to tie the game for the Bruins, who had just returned from a perfect 6-0 road trip.
Thomas finished the night with 27 saves.
Tempers flared in the second period, as Shawn Thornton and Steve Downie were assessed 10-minute misconducts. Later in the period, Lucic and Brewer got into a fight after Lucic high sticked Dominic Moore from the blindside with Moore and Horton engaged in some shoving and trash talk.