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Bruins go for clincher against Lightning

by Corey Masisak /

(Boston leads best-of-seven series, 3-2)


Big Story: The Bruins are one win from clinching a spot in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 21 years, while the Lightning will be looking to comeback from being down 3-2 in a series for the second time in three rounds.

Team scope:

Bruins: Boston got two goals in less than 12 minutes on very similar plays and a lot of great goaltending from Tim Thomas to collect a win in Game 5 and push to within one victory of an Eastern Conference championship. Patrice Bergeron has been Boston's best player since returning from a concussion, and he set up one of the goals. Milan Lucic has been maligned for his lack of an impact, but he set up the first tally.

The Bruins have been able to stifle Tampa Bay's top scorers in the past three games and have won both of the low-scoring games in this series. If Thomas plays as well as he did in the third period of Game 5, little else might matter and the Bruins could be four wins from claiming the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years.

Lightning: Tampa Bay had 34 shots on net in Game 5, including several quality chances in the third period when the Lightning were only down a goal, but couldn't solve Thomas. The big culprit was the power play, as the Lightning had four chances with the extra man in the first 24 minutes and failed to extend the lead.

The "Big Three" of Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos has combined for one point each in the past three games, so the Lightning could certainly use a big night from them. Mike Smith started Game 5 in net and played well, but Tampa Bay will go back to 41-year-old veteran Dwayne Roloson in this must-win contest.

Who's Hot: While Tyler Seguin racked up six points in two games, Michael Ryder has been Boston's most consistent offensive weapon in this series, collecting three goals and six points with at least a point in four of the five contests. Tampa Bay's Simon Gagne has three goals and five points in this series -- he also has seven goals in his past nine postseason games against the Bruins dating back to his work with Philadelphia last season.

Injury Report: Boston will be without center Marc Savard (concussion), but everyone who has contributed in this postseason is available. Johnny Boychuk was the recipient of a big hit from Steve Downie in the third period of Game 5 but said he is OK. Tampa Bay is still without Pavel Kubina (concussion) and could be missing role player extraordinaire Sean Bergenheim, who left Game 5 in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Boucher said Bergenheim wouldn't have been able to play Tuesday, and added he'd probably "go to church" for some divine help Wednesday.

Stat Pack: There have been only four power-play goals scored in this series. Tampa Bay is 2-for-19 with the extra man after having the best PP efficiency of any team that reached the second round. Boston has struggled all postseason, and is 2-for-18 against the Lighting. Claude Julien said he liked having towering defenseman Zdeno Chara in front of the net on a late power-play chance in Game 5, so that's a possibility again Wednesday.

Puck Drop: Boucher may have danced around the goaltending questions after Game 4, but he did no such thing Tuesday. He said Roloson will be in net for Game 6. Roloson is 6-0 in his career in postseason elimination games -- winning three times to rally the Minnesota Wild in the second round in 2003 against Vancouver and three more in the first round against Pittsburgh.

"He's had tremendous stretches with us, and I remember there was one time where it wasn't going so well," Boucher said. "We gave him two days off and he came back and he was outstanding after. ... This is a perfect situation. He's going to be the only rested guy in the two teams."
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