Conference Finals – Day 9

Brad MarchandBoston vs. Tampa Bay – The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t waste much time getting on the scoresheet in game five. Simon Gagne made it back-to-back games with a goal, as he gave the Bolts the early lead just 1:09 into the first period. The goal was his fifth of the post-season, and was assisted by Steve Stamkos. That would be the only scoring in the first, and unfortunately for the Lightning, their only goal of the game.

Early in the second period, Nathan Horton tied the game 1-1 with his seventh of the playoffs. He is having an outstanding post-season, and is proving to be a great off-season pick-up for the Bruins. At 15:56 of the period, it was Boston’s Brad Marchand with his sixth post-season goal, giving the Bruins a huge 2-1 lead late in the second.

The third period was good for the Bolts, as the continued to press and make an offensive charge. However, the Bruins Tim Thomas would not let anything by him as he made incredible save after incredible save on the potent Lightning attack. His 33 saves on the night include this highlight reel stop with his stick. That save, on what should have been the game-tying goal, basically secured victory for the Bruins. Thomas lead them the rest of the way, and Rich Peverly potted an empty net goal with 13 seconds left to seal the deal. Bruins now have a 3-2 series lead as they head back to Tampa Bay.

Tim Thomas has been exceptional all series long, including his shutout and the amazing save from last night. At age 37, he is a prime example of what a great goaltender in the NHL should be. Thomas has had some great help, however, and that includes the play of Patrice Bergeron. Sidelined with a concussion not long ago, Bergeron has come back to score two goals and pick up an assist in his past two games. His 15 post-season points lead all Bruins skaters.

In the opposing net, we saw Mike Smith get the start over Dwayne Roloson. This may come as a surprise to some, but Smith definitely earned it. He played outstanding in the come from behind win in game four. Roloson, who is a veteran of the game, should have no problem shaking off the cobwebs  if he is to get another start for the Lightning. Smith, however, continued his great play in game five. He only let in two goals, but only faced 19 shots in the loss. It will be interesting to see who gets the start in game six, back in Tampa, and whether or not the Bolts can lengthen the series.

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