BOSTON -- Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning put all kinds of pressure on Boston goalie Tim Thomas, but were unable to recover from a pair of second-period goals against in a 3-1 defeat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Stamkos made a great play on Tampa Bay's goal, feeding Simon Gagne with a perfect 2-on-1 pass. He also created a 3-on-1 chance in the second period by skating past Patrice Bergeron near his own blue line and racing up the ice with the puck. He finished with two shots on net in 20:07 of action, but also won only 4 of 13 faceoffs as the Bruins were successful 58 percent of the time in the circle.
Here's what Stamkos had to say after the game:
Q: What happened in the second period?
Stamkos: It seemed like they got some momentum off their penalty kill [and] then we started to get away from our game. It was probably a four- or five-minute span where it was odd-man chances both ways, kind of a run-and-gun style, and that's not our team. We kind of got away from what worked. In the end yeah, we got a lot of shots on net. We had some chances, but our power play has to be a lot better and we've got to stick to our plan for the whole 60 minutes if we want to win.
Q: What is your reaction of Mike Smith going in net tonight?
Stamkos: We have confidence in both of our goaltenders and it definitely wasn't anything that [Smith] could have done to win. It falls on us. We had some defensive breakdowns. [Smith] made some big saves to keep us in it when he had to. That's a coach's decision and we're really confident in both. It was a low-scoring game and we had a lot of shots to the net. Thomas made some nice saves at the end.
Q: Do you feel like you aggravated Thomas enough and got his face?
Stamkos: I thought we got lots of pucks to the net and had some rebound chances -- not as much as last game. We have to look at the video and see what we have to do.
Q: When you look at it, you get the first goal, you outshoot them, your penalty kill is terrific -- theoretically you probably deserved to win that game. How frustrating is it?
Stamkos: Yeah, it is tough. You don't win when you deserve to all the time and that's the playoffs. The ones you deserve to win you should win and you have to win to be successful in the playoffs. We've been on both ends of the spectrum and we can't look at it like that right now. We've got to learn from that and regroup. We've got a great opportunity. We're coming back home and it is a must-win game. We've been in that position before.
Q: How much do you rely on that you just have to go back to the Pittsburgh series to rely on recent experience?
Stamkos: Yeah, we're in a one-game better position than we were in the Pittsburgh series. We've got a great opportunity. Obviously it would have been great to win tonight heading back to home, but we're heading home to our great fans and we'll try to use them as motivation and momentum and we've got to win a game.
Q: How tough was it to see Sean Bergenheim leave the game?
Stamkos: He's been a key player for us, but we've battled with injuries all year. Other guys have to step up. Tonight was a tough one, but hopefully he's good for the next game.