If the Boston Bruins don't make it to the Stanley Cup Final, they'll rue the one they let get away on Saturday.
The Bruins left the ice after the first period of Game 4 seemingly in charge of the Eastern Conference Finals -- they led Tampa Bay 3-0, and were 40 minutes away from going home with a chance to wrap up their first trip to the Final in 21 years by winning Game 5 at TD Garden on Monday. But a few turnovers and some sloppy play later, the Lightning had tied the game at 3-3 -- revitalizing the sellout crowd that packed the St. Pete Times Forum. Bruin-killer Simon Gagne got the winner in the third period and set up Martin St. Louis for the empty-netter in a series-tying 5-3 win.
Thus, instead of heading home with a chance to clinch, the B's go back to Boston all even after blowing three-goal lead in a playoff game for only the fourth time in franchise history -- and the Lightning head to New England with momentum.
In the West, the San Jose Sharks hope winning Game 3 on Friday will give them some momentum as they head into today's game against Vancouver (3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).
As you get ready for your Sunday, here's your daily NHL.com Reading List, a set of quick links to some of the stories you won't want to miss:
Smith becomes a relief ace
There's no bullpen in hockey, but Tampa Bay's Mike Smith is becoming a relief ace anyway. Smith not only stopped the bleeding when he relieved Dwayne Roloson on Saturday, but he wound up getting the win with a perfect 21-for-21 performance. Corey Masisak was among those who chatted with Smith after he got his first career playoff victory.
Purcell steps up
Teddy Purcell was a big scorer as he worked his way toward the NHL, but got lost in the shuffle in Los Angeles and was acquired by Tampa Bay in March 2010. As Corey Masisak writes, Purcell has blossomed into a productive player with the Lightning, and his pair of second-period goals triggered Tampa Bay's Game 4 comeback.
Bruins watch it all melt away
It had to be disappointing for Boston's players and coaches to watch a three-goal lead go poof! But as Shawn P. Roarke writes, the Bruins' task now is to make sure that Saturday's meltdown doesn't lead to a series loss.
Bergeron knew Bolts wouldn't quit
Patrice Bergeron had two of Boston's three first-period goals in Game 4. But as he told the assembled media, including Shawn P. Roarke, he knew the Lightning wouldn't roll over despite being down three goals.
Questions for Canucks and Sharks
NHL.com's Dan Rosen takes a look at the key questions facing both the Canucks and Sharks as they prepare for Game 4 on Sunday at the Shark Tank.
Thornton building new reputation
For years, Joe Thornton has had the reputation of a player who's not as good in the playoffs as he is during the regular season. Dave Lozo reports that Thornton, who shares the lead in playoff scoring, is shedding that reputation rapidly.
Canucks weigh options on blue line
The Vancouver Canucks still lead the Western Conference Finals 2-1, but they're likely to be a little short on the blue line in Game 4. Injuries are likely to keep regulars Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome out of Game 4, and Dan Rosen looks at coach Alain Vigneault's options.