If there is anything that the NHL and its fans have learned during the postseason, it is that Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher knows what he is doing.
The league and its fans first got an indication of this in the first round when the Lightning were down three games to one against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Lightning came back and won the series after shutting out the Penguins in Game 7 to advance to the second round.
Everyone got another taste of Boucher's knowledge and depth for the game when his club swept the offensively-gifted Washington Capitals. Boucher implemented a defensive system to a T, specifically the 1-3-1, that allowed the Lightning to get opportunities by pouncing on the Capitals' mistakes and turning them into goals.
The 1-3-1, as well as the penalty kill, shut down the Caps offense. Under Boucher, Tampa Bay's penalty kill has been dynamite.
In their current series against the Boston Bruins, which is tied up at two games apiece, Boucher has shown that he knows how to adapt to difficult situations. When the Lightning were down 3-0 after the first period, Boucher put in backup netminder Mike Smith. From that moment on, things turned to gold for the Lightning.
The team came back to win the game 5-3 by causing turnovers, creating traffic in front of Tim Thomas and getting splendid goaltending from Smith. Boucher knew that putting Smith in the game would cause the Lightning to wake up and play a different style, which fortunately paid off in spades.
It is no secret that first-year bench boss Boucher is coaching in the National Hockey League for a reason. Boucher knows what he is doing and knows how to win hockey games when faced with a challenge.
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