Caps-Bolts report: Bergenheim adds depth
The free agent signee, yet another deft piece of work by rookie GM Steve Yzerman, has been unstoppable this spring, continuing his magical playoff run Wednesday night with two goals in the second period to pace the Lightning to a 5-3 victory and a sweep of the favored Washington Capitals.
Bergenheim now has seven goals in 11 postseason games and is tied for the NHL playoff goal scoring lead.
"This year, every top game, every important game, every game that there is some pressure, he was in it. He was one of our better players. Some people freeze under pressure, some people fly away and some people fight. He fights," coach Guy Boucher said after the Lightning qualified for the Eastern Conference final by winning their seventh straight game.
"A lot of hard work. We've been playing together for a while now, and I would also say using our speed. That's been one big key," Bergenheim said.
As for his place at the top of the playoff scoring list, Bergenheim insisted he's not thinking about that now.
"I haven't really thought about it actually. For me, I don't care who is scoring or who gets the most goals. It's the wins that count. It feels good to help the team, but we get a lot of scoring from many lines and have good depth on this team, so that's what really makes it hard for our opponent," the former Islander said.
Better with age
Netminder Dwayne Roloson, 41, has won seven straight starts. Only Jacques Plante with eight straight wins back in 1969 has a longer winning streak in the playoffs at the age of 40 or older.
Now and then
Up until the start of the Eastern Conference finals, there will be lots of discussion about how this Lightning team compares, if at all, to the team that made the 2004 run to the Cup.
"We haven't won the Cup yet. There's a lot of will in this room and good character and young guys -- similarities to the '04 team -- but that was a great team and a great run," said Martin St. Louis, one of just three players who remain from the 2004 team.
"This team has its own identity with a lot of different players. Everyone is playing their role and more. That's what you need in the playoffs. You can't just be playing your role. You've got to bring more to the table," said St. Louis, who scored the Lightning's fifth goal Wednesday.
"We do give ourselves a chance to win every game. I think our poise has gotten better through the playoffs. We had to learn and mature pretty quick being down 3-1 to Pitt. I think once guys got over the hump with that, the poise is just more obvious to me," he said.
The sweep of the Capitals marked just the second time in team history the Lightning have dispatched a team in four games. They dispatched Montreal in four straight games in the second round in 2004 en route to their Cup win.
The last time the Caps were swept in the playoffs was in the 1998 final against Detroit.