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Postgame Reaction: Game 6 at Tampa Bay

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – Despite a David Krejci hat trick, the Tampa Bay Lightning scored three power play goals to beat the Boston Bruins 5-4 and force a Game 7 in Boston on Friday night.

Krejci reacts after his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the first period in Game 6 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference final series on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Once again Tampa Bay took the early lead, this time on a Teddy Purcell blast off the draw just 36 second into the match-up.

But the B’s picked play up following the goal and finished the period with a 2-1 lead on just eight shots. Forward Milan Lucic tied the game for Boston at the 7:09 mark with his third goal of the postseason.

“When he skates and comes at you hard, he certainly puts everyone on their heels,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said of Lucic. “And I thought he was skating well tonight and created some space for himself and also created some turnovers for our hockey club. And that was a big difference maker as far as that line was concerned.”

Just 27 seconds later, the Bruins took their first power play of the game on a Ryan Malone trip on Lucic. Boston controlled the puck in Tampa’s zone for almost the entire two minutes. While the B’s weren’t able to net a goal, the man-advantage pushed the momentum Boston’s way.

David Krejci gave Boston the lead at the 16:30 mark. Krejci took a beautiful feed from Daniel Paille and wristed the shot past Dwayne Roloson, who got the starting nod tonight after being passed over in favor of backup Mike Smith in Game 5.

“That line needed to be big for us and they were,” Julien said of Krejci and linemates Lucic and Nathan Horton. “And that’s certainly something that you can build on heading home, that if those guys play like that again, you like our chances.”

The line combined for seven points.

Boston carried their momentum into the second period, but it wasn’t long before Tampa Bay stole it—and the lead—back.  The Bolts tied the game at 7:55 with a power play goal from their superstar trio. Martin St. Louis picked up the tally while Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos were credited with the assists. It was the first power play goal for Tampa since Game 2.

The Bolts then reclaimed the lead with another power play goal 13:35, this time Purcell notched the goal for his second of the night.

“Those penalties ended up costing us. Their power play was successful,” Julien said. “That becomes costly in the playoffs.”

Tampa Bay took 1:06 of their third power play into the third period, and scored their third man-advantage tally just 34 seconds into the final frame. 

Boston was able to kill the penalty and just when the Bruins thought they had gotten themselves back in the game with their own power play tally off the stick of Krejci at 9:46, the Bolts struck back just 29 seconds later.

Stamkos took advantage of a bad pinch by the B’s Johnny Boychuk, which started the 2x1 rush to Boston’s zone and allowed St. Louis to reclaim Tampa’s two-goal lead with his second goal of the night.

Krejci put the Bruins back within one with under seven minutes to play with his third goal of the night. Krejci’s hat trick is the first for Boston in the playoffs since current Bruins president Cam Neely did in against Montreal in 1991.

Boston laid the pressure on Tampa for the remainder of the period, dominating the play. But it wasn’t enough as the Lighting sent the series back to Boston for Game 7.
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