TAMPA, FL - MAY 21: Simon Gagne #12 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates scoring a third period goal with teammates as Tim Thomas #30 and Dennis Seidenberg #44 of the Boston Bruins reacts in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at St Pete Times Forum on May 21, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
The Bruins just could not let their fans enjoy their "last day on Earth" as they blew a 3-goal lead and gave up 5 straight goals as the Tampa Lightning evened the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series at 2-2.
Patrice Bergeron got the Bruins on the scoresheet first when he picked off an errant indirect reverse pass by Victor Hedman that was intended for Bret Clark behind the Tampa Bay goal. Bergeron gathered the puck and jammed it through the pads of Dwayne Roloson at the right post to make it 1-0 Bruins 11:47 into the game.
Michael Ryder got a good bounce to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead with 3:26 left in the opening period. Ryder was driving to the net with the puck and looked like he was trying to make a backhand cross-crease pass to Chris Kelly in front, but a Tampa Bay defender got his stick on the puck and it tumbled into the net.
Patrice Bergeron scored a shorthanded goal with 2:05 left in the first period. Steven Stamkos coughed the puck up to Begeron in the neutral. Bergeron gained the zone and fired a hard wrister from the top of the left circle that beat Roloson cleanly through the five-hole for his second goal of the game. After giving up 3 goals on 9 shots, Dwayne Roloson was pulled in favor of Mike Smith for the second time in this series.
After the buzzer sounded to end the first period, the two teams came together in a scrum near the Bruins goal. For the most part it was just facewashing, but Rich Peverley and Marc-Andre Bergeron broke off from the scrum, dropped the gloves, and squared off. Both Peverley and Marc-Andre Bergeron received fighting majors, while Steve Downie was hit with a 2-minute minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct.
The Lightning got on the board 6:55 into the second period. Tim Thomas misplayed the puck behind his net and turned the puck over to Simon Gagne, who was applying pressure as Thomas was trying to move the puck to Zdeno Chara below the goal line. Gagne got the puck to Purcell in front, who put the puck in the back of the net, just out of reach of Thomas' right pad.
Teddy Purcell struck again just 1:03 later on a wrister from the right dot that beat Tim Thomas on the glove side to cut the Bruins' lead to 3-2.
The Lightning scored for the third time in the second period on a goal from Sean Bergenheim to tie the game at 3-3 with 9:07 left in the middle period. Bergenheim beat Tomas Kaberle in a one-on-one battle for the puck behind the net, skated to the front of the cage, and shot the puck between the pads of Tim Thomas for the equalizer.
Simon Gagne made it 4-3 on the Lightning's fourth unanswered goal at 6:54 of the third period. Ryan Malone carried the puck in deep on the right wing and sent a centering pass to Gagne in the slot, who found the back of the net for 4th time in the postseason.
Martin St. Louis put the final nail in the coffin with an empty-net goal with 37 seconds remaining in the game. St. Louis and Simon Gagne broke in 2-on-1 with Zdeno Chara trying to protect an empty net. St. Louis took the return pass from Gagne and burried the insurance marker to account for the 5-3 final scoreline.
- If today is the last day on Earth, that game was a microcosm of what life is like for B's fans: flashes of optimism leading to a crushing defeat.
- I have no idea why Claude Julien did not call a timeout in the second period during that 3-goal flurry by the Lightning.
- Will Guy Boucher give Mike Smith the start in Game 5 on Monday?
- Tampa Bay out-shot the B's 37-30.
- The B's lost the battle at the dot (26 of 65 in face-offs; 40%)
- Bruins were 0 for 2 on the power play.
- Steve Downie was called for diving after getting hit into the endboards by Nathan Horton late in the second period. Horton was also whistled for a roughing minor on the play. Despite the diving call, Downie left the game with an apparent injury after the hit and did not return. Oops, I guess he wasn't diving. I supposed you get reputation calls when you have a reputation like Downie has.
- Dennis Seidenberg blocked a game-high 7 shots.
- David Krejci finished the game -3 and won just 3 of 12 face-offs.
- Patrice Bergeron was the only Bruins to win more than 50% of the face-offs he took. He won 11 of 20 (55%).
- For more on today's game from a group of hockey fans who are having a better Rapture Day, check out Raw Charge.