- Scott Burnside, NHL
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BOSTON -- Just as there are no free lunches, good visits from the IRS or pleasant root canals, there are no moral victories in the playoffs.
Down 6-3 after the second period, the Lightning continued to push the Bruins back on their heels. And were it not for a handful of sparkling Tim Thomas saves, the Lightning would have taken this game to overtime and, who knows, perhaps gone home up 2-0 in the series.
"We don't quit. We have a lot of character on this team and we believe in ourselves," said Steven Stamkos, who had a goal and two assists for the Lightning and was among a handful of players with a chance to tie the game late.
"If there is any positive, I guess that's it. You can't afford to give up six goals and expect to win a game. Five goals for should be plenty," he said.
If the near-comeback was gratifying, the lack of attention to detail and lack of discipline, both hallmarks of a Lightning team that had won eight straight and six in a row on the road, was disappointing.
"Yeah, we battled hard, but where our pride is since the beginning of the year is in our system and our structure wasn't the way it was supposed to be tonight, and that is what we are disappointed in," said Tampa captain Vincent Lecavalier, who was a force Tuesday with a goal and three assists.
Ryan Malone took three minor penalties in Game 2, although to be fair, the final interference call in the third period was a bit shaky.
The Lightning penalty kill, so good throughout the playoffs, gave the Bruins a lengthy 5-on-3 when Adam Hall lost his cool and threw a punch at the end of a play.
The Bruins' Nathan Horton deflected a Dennis Seidenberg blast with one second left on that power-play sequence to tie the game in the first period. The Bruins added another power-play goal in their five-goal second period.
"Well, to be honest with you, it was a pond hockey game tonight, period. When you play a pond hockey game, there's a chance it won't turn your way. So it's your breakaway, my breakaway, your two-on-ones, my two-on-one. It might be exciting for the fans, but from the team's perspective and standpoint, it's not how we've played. And when the other team is that hungry, you can't let that happen," Tampa coach Guy Boucher said.
"Even if we would have won that game, we certainly wouldn't have been happy with the way we played," Boucher said.
Importance of early leads
The Lightning's loss marked the first time this spring they did not win when scoring first. They were 8-0 when scoring first and 5-0 when leading after the first period before Game 2.
The Bruins now are 3-4 when giving up the first goal and 2-4 when trailing after the first.
"Whether we score the first goal or don't score the first goal doesn't change anything for us," Boucher said. "We're supposed to stick to our plan. And our players have been great at it. And we've reloaded many times."
Roloson pulled to start third
Boucher lifted netminder Dwayne Roloson after the Bruins managed to beat the veteran for five goals on nine shots in the second period.
But he said he's not worried about how Roloson rebounds.
"That's exactly what he is -- he's resilient. He's somebody that's got tremendous concentration. And you know he always bounces back. So we're not expecting anything less than what he's given us throughout the year. So I'm not worried," Boucher said.
"Tonight I thought in the first period he was great. If you look at the five-on-three, he was tremendous. And I think that five-on-three with one second left -- nobody was there to front the shots so we didn't help him on that one. And if we kill that, it's a different story, probably."
Mike Smith stopped all eight shots he faced in the third period in his first playoff action.
The Bruins' five goals in the second were the most they've scored in the postseason in one period since putting up six against Hartford in April 1991.
The five-spot was the most allowed by the Lightning in franchise history in the playoffs. They gave up four to Ottawa in April 2006.
7hScott Burnside and Craig Custance