Thursday, May 26, 2011
Rapid reaction: Lightning 5, Bruins 4
By James Murphy
TAMPA, Fla. -- As many predicted at the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals, this series will go to a winner-take-all Game 7, as the Lightning prevented the Bruins from punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup finals -- for now -- with a thrilling 5-4 win in Game 6 on Wednesday night.
The Lightning's big three of Martin St. Louis (two goals, assist), Vinny Lecavalier (two assists) and Steven Stamkos (goal, two assists) delivered, and the Lightning power play caught fire, going 3-for-4. David Krejci scored a hat trick for the Bruins, but it wasn’t enough.
B's finally score on power play, but Tampa's PP sizzles. The Bruins broke an 0-for-26 power-play slump with Krejci’s second goal of the game at 9:46 of the third period, but they still went 1-for-5. The Lightning, however, were sizzling on the power play as they went 3-for-4, and that was the major difference in the game. After going 0-for-4 in Game 5, the Lightning dominated the Bruins' penalty kill.
Top players delivered for both teams. One of our keys heading into Game 6 was that the Bruins' top line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton needed to deliver. Each one played great, with Krejci registering the Bruins' first playoff hat trick since 1991, Lucic with a goal and an assist, and Horton with two helpers. But St. Louis, Lecavalier and Stamkos were just as good.
Better first period for Bruins. It looked like it was going to be another bad first period for the Bruins when Teddy Purcell scored for the Lightning 36 seconds into the game, but the Bruins quickly got things turned around. At 7:09, Lucic tied the game at 1, and at 16:30, Krejci made it 2-1 Bruins. The Bruins held the Lightning without a shot over the final 12:31 of the first period.
Seguin’s minutes going down. After surging for six points in his first two career playoff games in Games 1 and 2, Tyler Seguin has come back down to earth and so has his playing time. Coach Claude Julien has been switching Seguin back and forth between the third and fourth lines, and giving Rich Peverley more playing time with his old mates on the third line -- Chris Kelly and Michael Ryder. Seguin played 10:41 in Game 6 and had zero points.
Roloson back in; Bergenheim out. Lightning coach Guy Boucher went back to Dwayne Roloson between the pipes for Game 6 after starting Mike Smith in Game 5. Roloson had been pulled twice in the series but Boucher apparently felt the veteran who carried the Bolts to this point was the guy to go with. Roloson made 16 saves. Sean Bergenheim, Tampa Bay's leading goal scorer and the leading goal scorer in the NHL for the playoffs, missed the game with an undisclosed lower body injury. Bergenheim has nine goals this postseason.