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Tampa Bay vs. Boston Game 6 live blog

by Shawn P. Roarke
20:00 It's only appropriate that this wild and wacky series goes seven games and that is what will happen. Somehow, Tampa Bay holds on for a 5-4 win, absorbing all Boston had in last 5 minutes for a season-saving win. See you in Boston for what should be a memorable Game 7. Hope you can join me there. See you then.

Boston's top line just had back-to-back monster shifts, cycling the puck and getting quality preimeter shots. There have been a few juicy rebounds in slot, as well, but Bruins can't get sticks there in time. David Krejci now has a hat trick, by the way.

So much for going quietly into that good night for Boston. david Krejci just scored oN a rebound put-back a shot by Milan Lucic. Boston now trail 5-4 and has 4 goals on just 17 shots. It should be interesting next 6 minutes. Goal, BOS 4-5

Well, that was a shortlived rally. After cutting lead to 4-3, Boston Gave up a 2-on-1 rush and Marty St. Louis made them pay with a goal after a  ice pass from Steve Downie. Steve Stamkos made the play work, however, with a well-lofted aerial pass into openice in the neutral zone. Goal TAM 5-3

The Zdeno Chara PP experiment finally pays dividends. With Vinny Lecavalier in the box and Chara occupying goalie Dwayne roloson and the Tampa bay defense, David Krejci was left alone in the slot to tip home a shot from the point for their first PPG in five tries tonight and just their fifth in 61 attempts this postseason. Goal BOS 3, TAM 4

Boston finally gets a successful kill, but only because Vinny Lecavalier takes a hooking penalty. We'll 45 seconds of 4-on-4 and then go a Boston PP.

Can the Tampa Bay Lightning score four PP goals in a row. They already are 3-for-3 and now Tomas Kaberle is in box for senseless interference penalty on Ryan Malone. At least Boston doesn't have a good PK guy in box like they did in the first three instances.

Boston is still trying to fight back, but it is an uphill climb for sure, especially with a dormant PP. Boston has put three straight good shifts together, but has managed just one shot. They have just 14 in 44 minutes. That's simply not good enough. Full marks, though, to Lightning's defense.

Boston is absolutely getting killed by its special teams tonight. It had four PP chances and has failed to score on any of them. Now Tampa Bay is 3-for-3 on the PP tonight as Steven Stamkos just rocketed a one-time slapper over the shoulder of Tim Thomas. Tampa Bay is moving puck around Boston's PK box with impunity here. Marty St. Louis started the play on this one, passing to Eric Brewer before he was slammed into the net. Brewer passed to Stamkos at faceoff dot and the youngster just rifled it home with an awesome shot. St. Louis, by the way, was still laying in Boston net when Stamkos scored. Goal, TAM 4-2.

This is it. Twenty minutes -- or more -- to determine the fate of two franchises. Can Tampa Bay hold on and force a anything-can-happen Game 7? Can the Bruins find a way to rally and eliminate this Lightning team, much like Vancouver rallied Tuesday night to eliminate San Jose in game 5 of Western Conference Finals an d book passage to its first Stanley Cup Final in 17 years. If Boston does rally, it will earn its first Cup Final trip in 21 years. Here's the 20 minutes that will tell the tale.

Start of third period

Boston kills first 55 seconds of PP, but need two big saves from Thomas -- including a mask save on slapper by Steven Stamkos to get out of period unscathed. Boston will have to kill final 65 seconds to start third. That was response Tampa Bay wanted in second with season on line. They scored twice and had 13 shots afetr managing just 4 in first 20 minutes. they also held Boston to 6 shots in the period.

Another huge kill for Boston here. Andrew Ference is in the box for cross-checking Steven Stamkos in a goal-mouth scrum that quickly turned prettY nasty. Tampa bay has been deadly with man-advantage this game, scoring on both opportunities. Again, this one comes with one of Boston's best PK guys in the box.

Boston almost killeed the penalty, but almost is not good enough in playoff games. Instead Teddy Purcell, on a sweet cross-ice pass from Steve downie, just beat Tim Thomas with a one-timer from the left circle as goalie tried desperately to go post-to-post. Tampa Bay had been o-for-9 in past three games, but is 2-for-2 tonight. Goal, TAM 3-2.

Here is a critical junjcture in this game! Rich Peverley just took a bad penalty -- interference in neutral zone -- and Tampa Bay's power play is showing signs of life after slumping for past three games. Can Bruins find way through another crucial kill with good PK guy in box?

Boston can't get anything going on its fourth PP, managing just one dangerous shot. mark Recchi, left at point to cover pinching D, couldn't hold the blue line to blunt Boston's momentum. Boston is now 4-for 60 this postseason on PP and has gone 13 straight advantages without scoring. Last PP goal came in Game 2.

Eric Brewer gets Tampa Bay in more trouble here as he takes defensive zone interference penalty just 8 seconds after Lightning tie it up. Not an ideal situation for Guy Boucher's boys -- even with the struggles Boston has had with man advantage.

The answer is yes. Marty St. Louis just scored a rebound goal after Tim Thomas made a nice save on the initial shot from Vinny Lecavalier. It is Tampa Bay's first power-play goal in past 10 tries. Goal TAM, 2-2.

Boston defenseman Dennis Seidenberg just drew a cross-checking penalty in front of Tim Thomas. Can Tampa Bay get equalizer on PP?

Lightning look a bit sharper this period. They already have three shots this periodx, after getting just four in the last period. A high-sticking penalty by Victor hedman, though, derailed the momentum a bit as Boston started dominating. Bruins, however, could not score and are 0-for-3 on PP tonight and just 4-for-59 this postseason. You have to wonder if those kills will spur Tampa bay on. It did in their second-period comeback in Game 4 and it also worked for Boston in Game 5, when they used two big kills to start a rally from 1-0 down in a 3-1 win.

Lightning take third-straight penalty as Victor Hedman high-sticks Tyler Seguin in defensive zone. Chara is at point to start this PP. Lucic back as net-front presence. Has earned that reward.

Here's a note. Miloan Lucic has just three goals this postseason. Yet all have come in eliminatIon games. He has the go-ahead goal tonight and had two in Boston's 5-1 win against Philadelphia in Game 4 of the sweep against the Flyers in last round.

Start of second period

After the most-promising of starts, Tampa Bay flagged badly in the second half of the period. Lightning did not manage a shot for final 12:31 of period and finished with just four shots in the frame. It was a similar period to the one Boston turned in in first period of Game 5. Tampa Bay has time to come back, but must answer as Boston did 48 hours ago. Shots are 8-4 for Boston after 20 minutes.

Ever since losing Game 4, Boston has been talking about winning board battles to get their mojo back. Here is the perfect example. Energy guy Daniel Paillewon a neutral-zone board battle against Steven Stamkos and gained entry into the Lightning zone. There, he made a nice pass to David Krejci, who was jumping into the play. Krejci snapped off a wicked wrister that beat Dwayne Rolson to the glove side, the same place Milan Lucic beat him for the first goal. Goal, BOS 2-1

Another penalty to Tampa Bay, this one to Ericv\ Brewer for tripping up Milan Lucic at defensive blue line. Zdeno Chara is playing forward again.

Guy Boucher just used his timeout to settle down his team after Boston's extensive time in the attacking zone on PP followed by an icing. His players were gassed. Boucher has only made it to the third period once in this series with his timeout still intact.

Boston's power-play unit looked much better with Zdeno chara up front. With Ryan Malone in the box fior tripping Patrice Bergeron, the Bruins deployed Chara in front of the net -- a tactic they debuted in Game 5 to put some life in a struggling unit. After failing to gain the zone on the first two tries, Boston gained entry on third try and had possession in zone for last 90 seconds. Chara caused all kinds of havoc in front for Eric Brewer and goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Boston got the response it needed, thanks to Milan Lucic. Gaining the offensive zone in a one-on-one situation against a backward-skating Victor Hedman, Lucic reached the space between the faceoff circles and fired off a snapper that beat Roloson high. Lucic used Hedman to screen the release of his shot and then fired the puck through Hedman's lregs to surprise Roloson. Goal, BOS 1-1.

For most of the morning, the Bruins talked about how important it would be to survive the five minutes of this Game 6, but they couldn't even survive the first minute as the Lightning scored on a nice set play off the faceoff. But, let's not forget that Boston was down 1-0 in Game 5 as well and managed just four shots in that period. They already have 3 in the game's first five minutes tonight and look much sharper.

They love their early goals here. Teddy Purcell gave Tampa Bay that early goal it craved as he fired a one-timer off a faceoff win by Vinny Lecavalier. Purcell was stationed almost right behind Lecavalier and got the puck when Lecavalier beat Chris Kelly clean on a draw. Kelly was taking the draw because the original Boston centerman, David krejci, was thrown out of the circle by the linesman. Johnny Boychuk screened Tim Thomas on the shot. Goal, TAM 1-0

Start of first period

8:03 p.m.
Sean Bergenheim is officially out for tonight's game. He will be replaced by Dana Tyrell, who played 4:38 in Game 4, his only other appearance in this series.

7:54 p.m.
As you probably already know, Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher has gone back to Dwayne Roloson for Game 6. Roloson, who did not play in Game 5, is 6-0 lifetime in elimination games and has a 1.50 goals-against average in those contests. Will the three days of rest help Roloson or hurt him at this point. That is one of the biggest questions headIng into this game. We'll get an answer soon.

7:42 p.m.
Welcome to St. Pete Times Forum for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the first elimination game in this wildly entertaining series. For Tampa, it is win-or-welcome-to-summer-break time. Certainly, the Lightning will play their most desperate game of the series with so much on the line. How Boston handles that initial charge will tell a lot about this game, I think. Tampa Bay, though, will be hampered by the absence of forward Sean Bergenheim, who is out with a leg injury he picked up in Game 5. Not only does Bergenheim have a League-best 9 goals this postseason, but his absence also affects the overall depth of Tampa Bay's forward lines. They become more of a two-line proposition, which makes defending them a bit easier. Boston, on the other hand, will go with the same lineup as Game 5.
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