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Pregame Notebook: Game 6 at Tampa Bay

by Hannah Becker / Boston Bruins – With a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6, the Boston Bruins will have two opportunities to eliminate the Tampa Bay Lightning from the postseason and advance themselves to the Stanley Cup finals.

While technically speaking the Bruins have two games to close out the series, it’s not something the B’s are hoping to take advantage of. Boston wants to finish things up in six games, and avoid a Game 7 situation.

“I think it’s extremely important, especially after we went through this in the Montreal series when we went into Montreal and wanted to finish it off there and unfortunately had to go back for a Game 7,” forward Gregory Campbell said.

The series has largely been back and forth in terns of goal scoring and wins, but the Bruins were able to put up back–to-back wins in Games 2 and 3. They’ll look to repeat that feat tonight.

Top line begins to jive
After posting just a combined two shots on goal for zero points in Saturday afternoon’s Game 4 loss, Boston’s top line of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and David Krejci came out to play in last night’s 3-1 Game 5 victory.

“Obviously, last game was disappointing, didn’t get much done,” said Lucic after Game 5.

“Two shots between the three of unacceptable,” he added.

The trio combined for the game-tying goal 4:24 into the second period. Horton, fresh from his second stint in the penalty box of the period, took a beauty of a pass from Lucic and buried the blast behind Bolts netminder Mike Smith.

The goal was a big one, as it put the Bruins back in the game and twisted the momentum in their favor.

“We got a little spark when that went in and we were back in it and were on the board,” Horton said.

As the top line goes, the Bruins go. Lucic, Horton and Krejci have been a dynamic threesome for Boston all season. Set between the hulking forwards, Krejci became an assist machine and provides picture perfect setups for his large wingers. In return, Lucic and Horton use their physical presence to make room for Krejci and his playmaking abilities.

When the group is off, the Bruins don’t fare so well, as was evident in the 5-3, Game 4 loss.

“Tonight we score the first goal again for our team to get ourselves back in the game. And that’s what we need to do, we need to make an impact,” Lucic said.

Last night, the three skaters combined for four shots, and while they each finished the night with an even plus/minus (they were on the ice for Simon Gagne’s opening snipe 1:09 into the match-up), they were largely accountable for keeping the momentum with Boston.

The key for the top line is when they don’t score, they are doing other things well. Known for his fists as much as his stick skills, Lucic was able to combine his enforcer role with a 30-goal season. Consistency, he says, was the key. Krejci can kill penalties and Horton’s aggressive style has gotten under the skin of more than one opponent.

Seguin continues to develop
Seguin (19) celebrates with goalie Tim Thomas (30) after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Eastern Conference final series on Thursday, May 19, 2011 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
The youngster has been in the spotlight in every step of his NHL career. From his final days in junior hockey to the NHL draft, to his professional debut to his postseason coming out party, Tyler Seguin has been the center of attention.

The 18 turned 19-year-old has grown and developed before the hockey world's eyes, and now that he’s deep into his first playoff run, the rookie is beginning to realize what it has all meant.

“I think growing up I was a competitive guy, I always wanted to be the best. I think that’s always going to stay with me, you always want to help your team out and you always want to try to be the best player in the world,” Seguin said.

“I think if spotlight, if that’s the word you want to call it, comes with it, then you want to grab that and take hold of it.”

While he may welcome the warmth of the spotlight, Seguin rode a large learning curve to become the hockey player—and man—he is today. Everything from his media duties to becoming stronger on the puck have been a learning process for Seguin.

Within the Bruins organization and with help from the front office, coaching staff and teammates, Seguin has grown and developed right before everyone’s eyes.

“Tyler came in obviously very young, very raw, and I think he had the right attitude, he just got better and better with some great direction from our coaching staff, some of the older players on the team, even watching guys like Bergy and that were good for him,” forward and most-veteran Bruin Mark Recchi.

Despite not always being a regular in the line-up throughout the entire regular season and completely sitting out for the first two rounds of the playoffs, Seguin was still able to find his role on the team.

“Guys want to keep the guys loose, the morning skates and when I wasn’t playing that’s what I was definitely trying to do. And now I am playing and I’m still trying to keep the same vibe and keep everyone loose,” Seguin said.

“I think it’s maybe because of my age that I’m more funny here than I was in Juniors. I don’t know what it was, maybe guys laugh at me because ‘you’re 19 and you’re immature’, I don’t know what it is.”

Roloson to start Game 6
Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson (35) leaves the game as goalie Mike Smith (41) prepares to replace Roloson, while Lightning coach Guy Boucher, center, looks at the big screen in the first period of Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff Eastern Conference final, Saturday, May 21, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Yesterday, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher announced his starting goaltender for Game 6 -- Dwayne Roloson.

Roloson was pulled in Games 2 and 4 and then started Game 5 on the bench in favor of backup goaltender Mike Smith. The move surprised many as, despite his lack of success against the Bruins, Roloson was a large part of the Lightning’s run to and through the postseason.

“He was the guy that took us here, and that's how I felt before last game; but like I said, I felt like it was time to give him a little breather and at the same time I felt that Smitty played really well,” Boucher explained.

“So this is a perfect situation. He's going to be the only rested guy in the two teams.”

Boucher was mute about who his started would be prior to Game 5, but the unknown figure between the pipes didn’t affect the Bruins.

“We were prepared for either or, we’ve done our scouting reports and everything on everyone before the series even starts and we didn’t really care,” Bruins head coach Claude Julien said.

While the Bruins were able to chase Roloson from the game on two occasions, Smith provided a much more difficult task for Boston. He didn’t give up a goal in his two relief appearances before the B’s found a way to solve him in Game 5, slipping two pucks to the back of the net.

“He’s going to bring his 'A' game,” forward Rich Peverley said of Roloson. “He’s been pulled two games but I think he’ll play probably the best game of the playoffs tomorrow. We’ve got to be able to take shots, pick up our traffic, and if we can continue to do that, hopefully we can challenge them.”

Boucher also gave an update on injured forward Sean Bergenheim. Bergenheim didn’t play in the final forty minutes of Monday’s Game 5. The injury is undisclosed.

“If it was today, right now he wouldn't be playing.  So we'll see tomorrow,” Boucher said.

Bergenheim is the Lightning’s leading goal producer with nine tallies. Should Bergenheim be unable to go, the rest of the Bolts will have to step up to pick up the resulting slack.

“it falls on everybody,” Boucher said. “Everybody's been the guy with us at one moment or another.

“So tomorrow, it's a team thing.”
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