Bolts come Back from Down Three to Even Series Against Boston

By on May 22, 2011

Marty St. Louis celebrates his empty net goal that got the fat lady up and the bus started for the Bruins. (photo by Kim Klement/US Presswire)

Tampa, Fl. (RSEN) The Tampa Bay Lightning went into the national televised game yesterday with the entire hockey world believing that their successful run was coming to a close; this was especially true  after Boston took back home ice advantage by winning the last two games to take a  2-1 series lead.  Well that adversity got a little deeper as they fell behind 3-0 after one period in the game yesterday.

Then something happened along the way, Coach Guy Boucher and the leaders on this team did something in which they had done countless times this year; that was band together as a group and showed the world once again that the Tampa Bay Lightning is here for the long haul in this series and maybe further as they came back from a three goal deficit to win the game 5-3 last night in an electric atmosphere at the  St. Pete Times Forum.

During the improbable run the Lightning is in the Stanley Cup playoffs, they have used a lot of unsung heroes along with the way to help them to their success.  Tonight was no different, as they received contributions from guys like Teddy Purcell, scored two goals,  and team superhero Sean Bergenheim, who scored the game tying goal tonight, and finally backup goalie Mike Smith who came in after Dwayne Roloson was pulled in the first period, stopping all 21 shots he faces in the last two plus periods of action. 

The game did not start off well for the Lightning as an early mistake by the defense pair of Brett Clark and Victor Hedman, the duo fumbled the puck right on the stick of Patrice Bergeron who was able to bang the puck between the five hole of Roloson to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead at 11:47 of the first period.

The uncharacteristic mistakes by the Lightning continued as Marc Andre Bergeron and Steven Stamkos turned pucks over at the blue line which directly lead to unassisted goals by Michael Ryder and Patrice Bergeron, his second goal of the night,  gave the Bruins the lead 3-0 all three goals scored in a 6:11 time frame which in turn chased Dwayne Roloson from the game and gave way to Smith with 2:02 left in the period.

The Lightning went in between periods and settled down, Boucher talked about doing nothing more than just staying calm with the team telling them they had to just relax and play their game.  First things first they had to kill of a penalty at the start of the period then the team came out flying.

It was that pressure by Tampa that gave you a feeling in the building that Bruin goalie Tim Thomas was losing control of his emotions a little bit and it gave the Lightning some life with Teddy Purcell scoring two goals in about a minute on the same shift in the second period to cut the deficit to 3-2.

The first goal by Purcell was a direct reflection of the “Man of the Match”, Ryan Malone.  It was his physical play and more importantly it was his presence in front of Bruin goaltender Tim Thomas that maybe the turning point in this series should Tampa come back to win. 

Ryan Malone (6) battles Boston's Tomas Kaberle (12) for position in front of Boston goalie Tim Thomas. After game 3, Thomas gave the Lightning some bulletin board material saying the game was easy. Malone and his Lightning teammates vowed not let it happen in game 4. (photo by Kim Klement/US Presswire)

The Tampa forwards knew before the game that they had to make Tim Thomas uncomfortable in his crease and they did just that tonight.  The team took notice to the press conference in which Thomas said that it was an easy night when he put together a 31 shot shutout on Thursday, well tonight all that changed as Tampa got in Thomas’ head and in his kitchen as they bumped and wacked him which seemed to emotionally take him out of his game and make him lose concentration.  

Malone talked about what Thomas said after the game, “We heard he said that it was an easy night in the last game and we were determined not to let that happen again so we made sure we bumped and wacked his when we could.”

Lightning came all of the way back in the second period as Sean Bergenheim, blew the roof off the St Pete Times Forum, winning a one on one battle with Tomas Kaberle of the Bruins and walked in front of Thomas net and scored to tie the game at three.

The comeback was then completed as Malone grabbed an errant pass by Lucic and fed a pass to Simon Gagne in the slot which he buried for the lead at 4-3 in the third period. 

 It was just relentless pressure from the Lightning as they continued to come in waves and Thomas finally broke under the barrage.

Marty St. Louis brought the crowd to dance in the aisles as they sang “Louie Louie” as the Bolts ready to go back to Boston with all the momentum on the back of this epic comeback.

“The team just lost focus in the second period, and they stopped winning the battles or the races which are things they do for success.” Claude Julien commented after the game.

Boucher answered the biggest question after the game about his goaltending as he said that the team was coming back with Roloson for game five and rightly so as he played lights out for most of the playoffs.  “We have our number one goaltender and he has taken us to these places so for this year.” 

If you have followed this team all year long his decision to come right back to Roloson in Game Five is no surprise, now the national media members still seem to be set on making it into a story during the off day.   Now it should be safe to say that Boucher will probably have a very short leash for Roloson with the idea that he will have no problem turning to Smith to change momentum at any point in the playoffs going forward.

So the demons in the minds of Bruin players, management, and fans will be front in center as they have blown another three goal lead in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in two straight years.  Last year it was in game seven of the series against Philadelphia will Boston be able to bounce back or will the Bolts step on their throats in game five on Monday night.

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