Conference Finals- Day 7

Boston vs. Tampa Bay- Were we really surprised by the result of this game? The Bruins are no stranger to letting a lead whether if it’s within a game or series slip away. However, it was the first time in 24 chances that the Bruins let a 3-goal lead slip away that they built in the first period. The Bolts were able to score five consecutive goals with backup Mike Smith in net as they rallied to defeat the Bruins 5-3 in front of a raucus loud crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The first three goals scored by each team came in bunches. Boston’s trio of goals came in a span of 6:11 in the first period. Tampa Bay tied the game faster than it takes to order and receive your appetizer at a restaurant as the Lightning scored three goals in 3:58. Tampa Bay’s two third period goals were enough to complete the comeback and tie the series 2-2.

Patrice Bergeron scored twice in the opening frame. Both goals occured via the wrist shot and were unassisted. The third goal came while the Bruins were shorthanded and was enough for Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher to pull Dwayane Roloson. Roloson wasn’t helped out much as Steven Stamkos turned the puck over to Bergeron which allowed him to fire a long shot into the net.

When Mike Smith came into the game, things turned around for the Lightning. They got on the board first when Teddy Purcell scored twice in 1:03. The first goal came when Boston goalie Tim Thomas fumbled and eventually turned the puck over behind his goal as he seemed to not know what to do with it. The Bruins defenseman tried coming towards him but due to the pressure of the Lightning attackers wasn’t able to secure the puck. The puck came out torwards Purcell, in which he fired a backhanded shot into the net. Just over a minute later, Purcell found the back of the net again when he took a pass from Mattias Ohlund and toe-dragged the puck through the defense and fired a wrist shot past the glove of Thomas.

The roof of the Forum nearly came off when Sean Bergenheim scored his ninth of the playoffs when he fired a blind shot on goal and it happened to get past Thomas. The game winning goal came at 6:54 when Ryan Malone took advantage of a bad Boston turnover, drove into the zone in which he fed Simon Gagne a pass that found the back of the net. The fifth goal came when Martin St. Louis scored an empty netter in the final minute.

Smith has seen action twice in the last three games, and it had been nearly 40 days before he played prior to Tuesday night. Thomas made 32 of 36 saves while Roloson made six saves on nine shots in 17:58.

Boucher has a decision to make as to who will start in goal for Game 5 tomorrow night. Will he roll with the guy he has gone with all season (Roloson), or will he go with the backup who stopped all 21 shots in yesterday’s comeback in Smith?

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