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Cullen: Lightning surge, Bruins squander lead in Game Four

Scott Cullen
5/21/2011 11:55:29 PM
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The Boston Bruins squandered a 3-0 first-period lead and an opportunity to take a commanding lead in their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Boston got going with a pair of goals from Patrice Bergeron, sandwiched around a Michael Ryder goal, which was his seventh point in his last five games.

Bergeron's second goal was a softy, a long-distance wrist shot through the legs of Dwayne Roloson and Roloson was pulled at that point, having allowed three goals on nine shots. In the last three games, Roloson has stopped 50 of 61 shots, and .820 save percentage.

Mike Smith stopped all 21 shots he faced to give the Lightning a chance to come back.

And come back they did, Teddy Purcell got the ball rolling, scoring two goals within 1:03, to establish that the Lightning weren't ready to hand over Game Four quite so easily.

The tying goal was a microcosm of the playoffs for the primary players involved in the play. Lightning winger Sean Bergenheim worked hard on the forecheck, took the puck from Tomas Kaberle and fired the puck past Tim Thomas for his playoff-leading ninth goal. Bergenheim scored 14 goals in 80 regular season games and now has nine in 15 playoff games.

Kaberle, with yet another soft play, looked utterly terrible and, for the second straight game, set a new season low with 11:35 in ice time. Given how Kaberle's role has steadily decreased, it's fair to wonder how much longer he can stay ahead of Steven Kampfer to just remain in the lineup. Kampfer was injured late in the regular season, but was more effective in his 38 games with the Bruins this season than Kaberle has been since coming over in a trade from Toronto.

Tampa Bay's winning goal was scored by Simon Gagne, who had a tidy three-point game, along with a plus-4 rating. It was the first plus-4 for Gagne since October, 2005.

Lightning winger Ryan Malone hasn't been a big scorer in the postseason -- his assist in Game Four gave him six points in the playoffs -- but he was a factor in this game, going straight after Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara and waging a physical battle against the most imposing physical specimen in the league. 

Bruins centre David Krejci had a rough day at the office too, finishing with a minus-3, with no shots on goal, while losing 9-of-12 (75%) faceoffs.

Lightning agitator Steve Downie left the game after getting drilled into the boards by Nathan Horton

Heading back to Boston for Game Five, the Bruins have to get more from their top line of Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic, who were stymied (recording two shots on goal total between the three of them) by the Tampa Bay defence pairing of Eric Brewer and Mattias Ohlund in Game Four.

Tampa Bay primarily needs to hope that they can get a solid goaltending performance, presumably from Dwayne Roloson, who has been pulled from two of his last three starts.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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