BOSTON — Maybe there have been too many questions to the Bruins about how they’re going to contain Tampa Bay’s star-studded forward corps and not enough credit given to a group of Boston blueliners led by a Norris Trophy winner.
But today after the Lightning landed in Boston and practiced at the TD Garden in preparation for tomorrow’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final, two of Tampa Bay’s biggest stars discussed how difficult it will be to get scoring chances when staring down Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
Steven Stamkos scored two of his 45 goals in the regular season in the four games he faced the Bruins.
“I don’t know if you look forward to going against Chara every night. It’s going to be a challenge, and I think we’re ready for it,” he said. “He’s obviously a great defenseman in this league. He’s a great shutdown guy. What makes him good other than his obvious size and physicality is his long stick. You think you have a step on him, then comes that 7-foot stick knocking the puck out of the way.
“It’s going to be a challenge. We have to adjust our game, get in front of the net, keep the puck away from him. He makes great passes as well.”
Stamkos today centered a line with wingers Martin St. Louis and Ryan Malone. But there will be times in a game when he might have St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, who starts out centering the second line, on his flanks. That would give the Lightning a lot of firepower for Chara to try to snuff out along with his teammates.
Lecavalier, who only played the Bruins once this season due to injuries, likes the idea of going right at the 2009 Norris winner and 2011 Norris finalist, and trying to outlast him after he’s played close to 30 minutes.
“He’s got offensive skill, defensive skill, he’s got everything about him,” said the Lightning captain. “A great defenseman. We’re going to have to try to tire him out as much as we can, try to make him skate because we know he definitely plays a lot of minutes.”