By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me on Twitter @PlaydonJeff
Game five is here, and the series has resumed at T.D Garden. After scoring three goals in the first period, the Bruins allowed five straight unanswered goals to the Lightning, and the Lightning held on for a 5-3 win. Instead of Roloson getting the start in net for the Lightning, Mike Smith would replace him and start his first career playoff game. Tim Thomas would be in net for Boston on the other side of the ice. Thomas looked a little shaky in game four, but he sounded confident going into game five in his press conference after the game. The pivotal game five is here folks, buckle up.
Lightning Get on Board First
The puck was dropped, and right away, the game opened with a slapper from Johnny Boychuk that was turned away from Smith. 20 seconds later, a turnover by the Bruins at half-ice led to a 2-on-1 breakaway for the Lightning. Stamkos passed it to Gagne, and Gagne lifted the puck past Thomas. It was an early 1-0 lead for the Lightning. Four minutes later, Vincent Lecavalier went to the box for tripping, and Boston was on the first powerplay of the game. This was an early opportunity to tie the game. For 1:32 of the Bruins powerplay, nothing was generated, and with 28 seconds left on the powerplay, Tyler Seguin was whistled for tripping. It was 4-on-4 for 28 seconds, with a Tampa powerplay following with 1:32 left on it. Boston successfully killed off the penalty, and the period continued.
7:43 left in the first, Andrew Ference cross-checked Stamkos into the net, leading to another powerplay for Tampa. This was another opportunity for Tampa to take a 2-0 lead. Despite Tampa Bay wreaking havoc on the powerplay, the Bruins killed off another penalty, and it was back to 5-on-5. Tampa Bay continued to dominate the period, and with 51 seconds left in the first, Nathan Horton was called for interference, and Tampa was going on their third powerplay of the night. Tampa didn’t score during the remainder of the period, and they would have a powerplay for 1:09 at the start of the second. After 20 minutes of play, Tampa was outshooting Boston 14-4.
Bruins Leap Foward in the Second
Second-period action was underway, and the Bruins would be shorthanded for 1:09. The B’s killed off the penalty, but they would be shorthanded another minute later. Horton was going to the box once again for interference. Boston once again successfully killed off the penalty, and 17 seconds after coming out of the penalty, Horton got himself on the right side of the scoresheet. A faceoff win from David Krejci led to Milan Lucic finding Nathan Horton for a one-timer on the left side, and Horton one-timed it past Smith. It was a 1-1 tie with 15:36 left in the second.
2:18 after the Bruins tied it up, both Marchand and Ryan Malone were going to the box, and it was going to be 4-on-4. 23 seconds into the 4-on-4, Mattias Ohlund was called for hooking, and the Bruins had a 4-on-3 powerplay for 1:37. One-shot from Tomas Kaberle that went wide of the net was the only chance generated from the powerplay, and it was back to even strength. Two minutes passed, and the Bruins would get another opportunity to take the lead. Eric Brewer was heading to the box for hooking. The Bruins only produced one shot for the second powerplay in a row, and it was back to even strength.
With 4:04 left in the second, Brad Marchand gives the Bruins the lead with his sixth goal of the playoffs. The rush was started by Chara, who lofted a backhand into the TB zone, then followed it into the corner. When he gets pinned on the boards by Hedman, the puck came loose, and Patrice Bergeron deftly scooped it up and sent a dead-on pass across the zone for Marchand, who fought off Martin St. Louis’s defense to get his stick on the puck and knock it into the left side of the net. 2-1 Boston with 4:04 left in the second. The Garden is deafening, and the Bruins are rolling. The second quickly came to an end, and the Bruins had a 2-1 lead. Despite having the lead, the Lightning were still outshooting Boston 23-12.
Boston Hangs on/Wins Game 5
The last 20 minutes of regulation were underway, and at the two-minute mark, Blair Jones thought he scored after his shot got by Thomas, but the puck rang the post and out. The period continued. With 10:40 left in the period, Tim Thomas made the save of the series. First, Malone got a jab at the net from in close and hit the left post, then Thomas made an amazing stop on Steve Downie with his stick. Roughly a minute later, Steve Downie was going to the box for boarding. Boston with a quality opportunity to make it 3-1.
Two shots result from the powerplay but no goal, 7:05 left in regulation. Tampa Bay continued to swarm Timmy Thomas with shots throughout the period, but it was still a one-goal game. With 45 seconds left in the third and Tampa desperately trying to tie the game, they pulled Smith for the extra man. The extra man did nothing for Tampa, and with 12 seconds left, Rich Peverly buried the empty netter. The last 12 seconds ticked, and game five was in the books. Boston now had a 3-2 series lead.
Boston won 3-1, but Tim Thomas had one hell of a game. He made 33 saves on 34 shots, including a highlight-reel save he made in the third period. Goals from Nathan Horton and Brad Marchand in the second prevailed Boston ahead 2-1, and that was all Boston needed. Game six would be played on May 25th at Tampa, with Boston having a chance to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals.