Cullen: Lightning's big guns strike; force Game Seven

Scott Cullen

5/26/2011 12:57:36 AM

The Tampa Bay Lightning rallied to beat the Boston Bruins to force Game Seven in the Eastern Conference Final.

Dwayne Roloson was back in net for the Lightning and, while he managed to get the win, it wasn't a stellar performance -- he stopped just 16 of 20 Bruins shots. Of course, it's also noteworthy that the Bruins managed just 20 shots for the second straight game. Their two-game total of 40 shots on goal is the lowest all season for Boston.

If the goaltending wasn't the primary storyline for Tampa Bay going into Game Six, the other hot topic was that the Bolts needed their big guns to be firing. Sure enough, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Vincent Lecavalier rose to the challenge, combining for eight points.

Teddy Purcell, who sparked the Lightning's Game Five comeback with two goals, scored another pair -- Tampa Bay's first two markers -- in Game Six.

The Tampa Bay power play, which had been held in check recently, scored three times, taking a 2-1 first period deficit and turning it into a 4-2 lead early in the third period. It was the first time in the playoffs that the Bruins allowed three power play goals, an unfortunate feat that happened only twice during the regular season.

Though they fell behind by a couple of goals a couple of times, the Bruins wouldn't roll over, cutting the lead to one and having opportunities to tie the game in the final minute.

Bruins centre David Krejci had a hat trick for the Bruins, giving him 10 goals in the playoffs, enough to tie Martin St. Louis for the NHL lead, and a surprising outburst for the playmaker that scored 13 times in the regular season.

Krejci's linemate, Nathan Horton, may have been Boston's best forward, playing more than 21 minutes and registering a couple of assists. Milan Lucic also contributed a goal and an assist, so Boston's big line showed up too.

There were a couple of surprising developments in the game for Boston. First of all, Tomas Kaberle had two assists while playing 19:46, his most ice time since Game Five against Montreal in the first round.

The other surprising development wasn't so happy for Boston. Tim Thomas, who had been so good in the postseason, allowed five goals on 26 shots; the fourth time in the series that Thomas has allowed at least four goals, but the first time in those games that he faced fewer than 33 shots. Thomas' .808 save percentage for the game was his worst single-game save percentage of the entire season, playoffs included.

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