The Boston Bruins came home licking their wounds from blowing a three-goal lead in Game 4 in Tampa on Saturday afternoon, and Monday was a continuation of the domination early in the game. Tim Thomas told his team “get on my back, boys, and I’m going to carry us to this win tonight,” as he stood on his head and carried the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory in Game 5 and a 3-2 lead in the series.
Thomas made 33 saves tonight with the only one goal against, and one of the saves maybe the save of the year on Steve Downie as Thomas sprawled from one side of the crease to the other and made the save with his goal stick that kept the Lightning from tying the score. This save was indicative of the night for the Bruins, as they took whatever the Bolts had to offer and turned them away.
The Lightning were dominating play early on in the game as they had a 17-5 shot advantage and four power play chances. Simon Gagne was able to score early for the Lightning on a two-on-one with Steven Stamkos, who made the pass that Gagne buried behind Thomas at 1:09 of the first period to give Tampa the early lead.
However, they were unable to take control of the contest, allowing the Bruins to claw their way back in the game. Early in the second period, Krejci won a faceoff cleanly when Milan Lucic then made a nice pass to Nathan Horton, who was able to rocket a one-timer past Mike Smith to get Boston back even at one goal apiece.
After Boston scored to tie the game there was a period of back-and-forth hockey with quality chances for both teams. Finally, Dominic Moore turned the puck over to Zdeno Chara, who dropped a pass off to Patrice Bergeron. Bergeron fed it to Brad Marchand, who was covered tightly by Martin St. Louis, but the Bruins rookie forward was still able to roof the puck to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the second period. Rich Peverly closed out the Lightning with an empty-net goal in the closing moments, sending the series back to Tampa with the Bruins up 3-2.
Before the start of the game, Coach Guy Boucher made an interesting decision before the game to go to back up goaltender Mike Smith as his starter to make his starting debut in the playoffs. Smith had made 29 Saves on 29 shots in 61 minutes of work in relief of Dwayne Roloson, as he made relief appearance in Games 2 and 4.
It was very apparent that the players in front of Smith were determined to make their coach look like a genius by playing so well in front of their goalie that the change will be a non-story as after the first period, the Lightning were out shooting the Bruins 14-4 and went into the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
There was not much Smith could have done on either goal tonight, as Boston was just able to make plays to take the lead, so you would have to expect Boucher to go with Smith again in Game 6 back at home in Tampa.
The back and forth series continues as the Lightning will have to hold serve on home ice on Wednesday at the St Pete Times Forum in front of a raucous home crowd in Tampa.