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Tampa Bay vs. Boston Game 5 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke
20:00 What a gutsy effort by the Bruins and Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith. It was a game full of intrigue and sets up a pretty good sequal two nights hence in Tampa Bay. Hope you join me there for Wednesday's do-or-die Game 6 for the Lightning.

19:47 Empty-net goal for Rich Peverley. What a defensive stand for him. A bit earlier he blocked slapper from point with his team scrampling. Now, he gets puck out of zone, plays it through legs of Tampa Bay defender and chases it down to shoot in empty net. Goal, BOS 3, TAM 1.

This game moves fast and sometimes you make mistakes. Ignore my last post. Bruins D pairings were jumbled because johnny Boychuk was hurt on that Steve Downie boarding play. He is back in the mix now though. Boston just used its TO.

It looks like Adam McQuaid and Tomas kaberle are going to be done for the rest of regulation. Boston has shortened its D and going with 4-man rotation of Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference. Safe to say they will see a lot of Vinny, Stamkos and St. Louis in next 4:23.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and Claude Julien just got desperate. Zdeno Chara was deployed as a net-front presence on last PP formation, replacing Milan Lucic. It was pretty effective, as well. Best-looking PP of the night, although that is not saying much.

Boston's much-maligned power play gets a chance to tack on some breathing room here. Steve Downie has just taken a boarding penalty for a late hit on Johnny Boychuk.

That might have been the save of the playoffs Tim Thomas just made. Steve Downie picked up a missed shot from the point on the bounce off the end boards and had empty net to shoot at as Thomas was way out playing shot from the point, but somehow, Thomas got the heel of his stick on the wrist shot and pushed the puck away from the goal. He has had one of these in each series so far.

Tampa Bay is getting the pushback that Guy Boucher wants to see from his club. They have the first six shots this period and have dominated zone play except for one extended cycle by the Bruins second line, set up by a Brad Marchand hiot on Vinny Lecavalier. Tim Thomas has been difference here so far.

This morning Claude Julien was talking about how he has complete faith in Tim Thomas and never entertained a notion of pulling him despite some struggles this series. Thomas is replaying that faIth tonighht. He just stone-cold robbed Blair Jones by getting his left arm on a wrister and sending it careening off the post and out of harm's way. It looked like Jones thought he had scored. Thomas has 24 saves tonight and saved Boston singlehandedly when they were flatlining in first period.

Here we go! Start of a monster 20 minutes of hockey. Who will win third period. Still no Sean Bergenheim for Tampa Bay it looks like.

Start of third period

End of second period. BOS 2, TAM 1; Shots: BOS 12, TAM 23

Here comes Ryan Malone again. With his team down 2-1, hje makes his presence felt with monster shift to end the period. First, he went hard to net and bumped Tim Thomas before being knocked over by Zdeno Chara. He picked himself up and jousted with Chara all the way up ice and then got in the face of Milan Lucic when the Bruins power forward fired off a shot just after ho9rn went to end period. Let's not forget, it was Malone's physical play that got Tampa going after falling behind 3-0 in first period of that game. Difference, this time, though is that Tampa Bay may be without Sean Bergenheim, who did not play in second period and was not on the bench when period ended.

Despite having just 11 shots, Boston leads the game 2-1 now. A turnover by the usually rock-solid Dom Moore started the play, which ended with Brad Marchand redirecting a Patrice Bergeron pass into the net. Boston has scored on 2 of 8 shots this period. Goal, BOS 2-1

No shots for Boston again on PP. They are now 4-for-56. Zdeno Chara's wide slapper was only half-way decent opportunity. You have to wonder when Claude Julien will shake things up drastically on PP. Maybe putting another forward at point and moving Chara to the net-front? Giving Daniel Paille a chance? Who knows?

Boston on PP again. Chara draws hook on Eric Brewer with aggressive pinch behind Tampa Bay net. Brad Marchand almost scores during delayed Portion of the penalty. Now, can Boston get anything going on this 5-on-4. Futility must be a mental factor by now.

Bruins can't manage a shot on either 4-on-3 or 5-on-4 that followed. That could come back to haunt them. Now they are 4-for-55 on PP this postseason.

No we are not. It is 4-on-3 for Boston. Mattias Ohlund just got whistled for hooking on Boston scoring chance. Can Boston PP wakeup with all this open ice?

Tim Thomas just made a nice save on chance from Brett Clark on 3-on-2. The role of the BostOn goalie in keeping Boston in this should not be underrated. He already has 19 saves. We're playing 4-on-4 hockey by the way for next two minutes.

From my keyboard to the ears of the hockey gods. Boston wins a faceoff and Milan Lucic shuffles a backhand pass across slot to set up Horton from a one-timer to the right of Mike Smith. The shot beat Smith to the stick side. his mastery of the Bruins ends at 34 shots. Clearly those kills gave Boston some momentum, as I mentioned. David Krejci, who got the secondary assist, also helped by winning an offensive-zone draw. Goal, BOS 1, TAM 1

It looks like Boston will kill its second penalty of the period here. Will thy get the same boost Tampa Bay got when it did the same thing trailing in the second period of Game 4. Bosth sides admit those two kills changed the momentum.

Nathan Horton is in the box again -- for interference again. Not his best night as a Bruin for sure.

Tim Thomas has made 15 saves now, but none was bigger than last one. Just after Nathan Horton penalty expired, Downie had 1-timer chance to left of Thomas, but the Bruins goalie got their and denied the shot, keeping it 1-0.

Start of second period

End of first period. TAM 1, BOS 0; shots: TAM 14, BOS 4

Bruins did a good job killing first half of the Lightning power play, not allowing a shot. But, the Bruins have a ton of work to do during intermission. Not sure how much of it is tactical. Boston coach Claude Julien needs a motivational trick here. Team is losing all the battles and Tampa Bay is playing perfect road game. This game is playing out much like Game 3, a 2-0 road wiN by Boston. In that one, Boston got an early 1-0 lead and just played patiently throughout, never giving Tampa Bay a chance on the counter attack.
Nathan Horton just took a disastrous penalty for Boston, plastering Nate Thompson at the Boston blue line. Only problem was Thompson did not have the puck and it was a clear interference penalty. Not only does it give the dangerous Tampa PP a third shot, which will carry over into second period, but it kills momentum Boston had established from carrying play for past three minutes.

Bruins finally showing signe of life after going almost 13 minutes between shots. Nathan Horton started it all by bumping Mike Smith as he wandered behind net to play a dump-in. Then a few seconds later, David Krejci sent Marc-Andre bergeron pinwheeling over a prone Smith with a big wallop. Boston still only has three shots, however.

Boston  can thank Tim Thomas that it is just 1-0 here. He has made two huge saves in past two minutes -- one on a stuff attempt by Marty St. Louis and one on a breakaway by Steven Stamkos that ended with Andrew Ference taking a cross-checking penalty at the end of the rush. Stamkos was sprung by an astute headman pass into space after Brad Marchand made a bad turnover in the tampa end. Tampa Bay with its first full PP.

Almost 9 minutes into this game and Boston has just 2 shots -- Tampa Bay has 6. Safe to say this is not the start Boston wanted against Smith. They have completely lost their game after first period in Game 4. They are going offside and having issues gtaining the attacking blue line regularly.
Well, that's not how Boston wanted its first PP to go. They did not manage a shot in the first 92 seconds of it, struugling to gain the zone. Then, rookie Tyler Seguin took a tripping penalty against Dom Moore in the attacking zone to negate rest of PP. Boston is now 4-for-53 on PP.

5:03 On Boston's first decent shift, Patrice Bergeron uses some decent board work to force Vincent Lecavalier into a tripping penalty. Boston needs something from their PP to get back into this game. In first five minutes, Boston managed just two shots. That is not a strategy for success against a goalie making his first playoff start on the road in a huge swing game.

Again, a perfect road start for Tampa Bay as Simon Gagne scores on a 2-on-1 with Steve Stamkos. The lightning attack was sprung when David Krejci was knocked off the puck by a Brett Clark hit and Andrew Ference fello down as he tried to pinch to keep the puck alive. Johnny Boychuk, the D left back to defend, was caught a bit in no man's land before the pass. It is the third time in five games that a team has scored before game is 70 seconds old. This will test Boston's mental resolve. They must keep focus. Goal, TAM 1-0

8:05 p.m.
It is official now, Mike Smith is in for the Lightning. The goalie who passed through regular waivers and re-entry waivers after signing a big-ticket deal to be Lightning savior this summer -- only to b e replaced by Dwayne Roloson after a mid-season trade -- now gets his chance to save the Tampa Bay Lightning season. You can't write a script better than this. Will be amazing drama to see how it all plays out. By the way, Steve Downie is also in for Lightning and it appears he will resume third-line duty.

7:40 p.m.
Guy Boucher may have refused to give Dwayne Rolson a vote of confidence because he didn't feel confident in his veteran keeper, who has allowed 11 goals in the past 6 periods he has played -- stretched acrosss three games. Mike Smith led the club onto the ice for warmups, suggesting that Smith is the starter for Game 5.  If that is indeed the case, it is a bold move by Boucher. Yes, Smith has not allowed a goal in his two relief appearances in this series, but he has not started yet in the pLayoffs and has had a bit of time to think about what is at stake here in Game 5 instead of coming in unexpectedly. The guess here is thaty Boucher feels he can go back to Roloson in Game 6 if Smith falters here. If Roloson started and wasn't good in Game 5, it would be tough to go to Smith in an elimination game. We'll find out if Smith is starter in a few minutes.

7:19 p.m.
For the first time in this series, there are severalo lIneup decisions that need to be made after warmups tonight here at TD Garden. Claude Julien is dressing 23 players -- letting Shane Hnidy, Steve Kampfer and Shawn Thornton all take the warmups. He says if there are changes to be made, he will do so after the warmups. Best guess is he goes with the same 20 as In Saturday's Game 4. On the Tampa Bay sdide, their is even more intrique. The biggest question is who will start in goal. The big money has to be on starter Dwayne Roloson, but he has been pulled in two of the past three games and Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher refused to annoint him the starter, despite being asked directly several times in past two days. Also, will Steve Downie play? The pesky forward suffered an upper-body injury in Game 4 and is listed as day-to-day. Boucher said there is a chance Downie could play in Game 5, but the odds are against him.
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