BOSTON, MA - MAY 23: Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins celebrates after their 3 to 1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 23, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Despite being outplayed for most the game, the Bruins were able to find a way to win behind the stellar goaltending of Tim Thomas (33 saves) in a 3-1 win over the Tampa Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With the win, the Bruins are just one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1990.
It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Bruin when Tampa Bay jumped out to an early lead just 1:09 into the game. Steven Stamkos and Simon Gagne broke in 2-on-1 on Johnny Boychuk. Stamkos carried the puck on the right wing and slid a centering pass to Gagne in front, who shot a one-timer over the right pad of Tim Thomas to make it 1-0 after Boychuk failed to take away the passing lane.
Fresh off of his second trip to the penalty box for interference, Nathan Horton evened the score at 1-1 4:24 into the second period. David Krejci won an offensive zone face-off at the right dot to Milan Lucic on the left wing. Lucic skated to the right wall and swapped spots with Horton, who faded out to the inside edge of the left circle before Lucic sent a pass in Horton's direction. Horton one-timed Lucic's pass with a hard slapper that beat Mike Smith on the glove side.
The Bruins took the lead for the first time with 4:05 left in the second period on a goal from Brad Marchand. Marchand drove to the net and in one fluid motion received a pass from Patrice Bergeron from the right wing corner and roofed a wrister for the 2-1 lead.
Midway through the third period, Tim Thomas made an amazing diving stick save to shutdown Steve Downie to preserve the Bruins' lead. Just moments later, Mike Smith made a big stop of his own when he gloved down a point blank backhander from Zdeno Chara.
Rich Peverley tacked on a empty net goal with 12.1 seconds left in the game to make it 3-1.
As the final buzzer sounded, a scrum broke out. No punches were thrown before the officials settled things down.
- Johnny Boychuk left the game in the third period after he was slammed into the endboards on a late hit by Steve Downie. Downie was whistled for boarding after the hit. Every series needs a villain. This is one now has one.
- Sean Bergenheim left the game with an apparent injury for the Lightning.
- Tim Thomas is backing off of his "guarantee" of a series victory, asking after the game when interviewed by Pierre McGuire of Versus "I wonder what I'm gonna say tonight that's taken out of context and used for bulletin board material?".
- Brad Marchand needs to get rid of his Thornton Mellon triple lindy routine. He is gaining a reputation.
- I loved seeing the shot of Steve Downie sulking on the bench after the game long after the rest of his teammates had filed off to the dressing room.
- The Bruins power play failed to produce again tonight, going 0 for 4. It was nice to see them finally make some adjustments on the power play, though. On the last man advantage, Zdeno Chara was stationed at the top of the crease to provide a screen.
- Tyler Seguin's minutes were cut back significantly tonight. He saw just 7:50 of ice time. The rookie took a retaliatory tripping penalty in the first period that did not help his cause tonight.
- Nathan Horton was whistled for two interference minors.
- Game 6 is Wednesday night in Tampa at 8:00 PM ET.
- For more on Game 5 check out Raw Charge
Great Tweet from Rich Shertenlieb of Toucher & Rich:
As a thank you, Bruins fans will form Guy Boucher's giant facial scar on the runaway at Logan tomorrow.
- That is of course a reference to Tampa Bay fans forming a giant lightning bolt in an airport parking lot.