Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay and Boston tangle in game three in St Petersburg. The Lightning are -130 favorites over the Bruins with an over/under goal total set at 5.5.
Game number two of the Eastern Conference finals was a track meet on ice and at the final whistle Boston survived to take a 6-5 decision and even their series with Tampa Bay at a game apiece. A five goal second period explosion by the Bruins proved to be barely enough to carry the night. Tyler Sequin tallied two goals and a pair of assists to pace the Boston attack while Michael Rider also scored two goals and added a helper. Nathan Horton and David Krejci also lit the lamp for the Bruins with the former contributing two assists as well. Vezina Trophy candidate Tim Thomas didn’t look the part at times, recorded 36 saves on 41 shots but did survive a flurry of Lightning shots in the final minute for the victory as the offense responded with a strong effort after looking flat in a 5-2 defeat in the opener.
Tampa Bay had another great offensive game with five goals in as many games with five different players finding the back of the net. Vincent Lecavalier led the charge with a goal and a trio of assists while Steven Stamkos, Adam Hall, Dominic Moore and Martin St Louis also scored. Dwayne Roloson allowed all six goals on just 27 shots in his poorest performance not only of the postseason but the entire year. He gave way to Mike Smith in the third period who saw his first action of the playoffs and gave the Lightning a chance to win it by stopping all eight shots he faced. Strangely, the 41 year old Roloson has looked younger than his age throughout the postseason but looked a bit slow in this one.
With the loss Tampa Bay’s run through the playoffs ended at a still very impressive eight game winning streak with game three scheduled on their home ice. Much to the chagrin of Boston, game two had a similar look to it as the opener when the Lightning opened up a 3-1 lead and forced the Bruins in to playing catch up the final 40 minutes. Even though TB carried a 2-1 lead in to the middle frame it was the Bruins turn to flex some offensive muscle with a five goal period that forced Tampa Bay in to catch up mode. When the smoke had cleared it was Boston that carried what seemed to be a secure 6-3 bulge in to the final 20 minutes.
Tampa finished strong with a pair of goals to make Boston and their backers sweat and got a quality effort from Smith who was pulled with around 1:10 left in regulation but Thomas held on despite what seemed like a swarm of bees in Tampa Bay jerseys. This series is intriguing to say the least with two of the best defensive teams in the postseason scoring 18 goals already. Any mistake or lapse in concentration seems to be ending with the puck in the back of somebody’s net. One thing that is apparent is that Boston has gotten a huge lift from Sequin with Bergeron out and will likely need him to produce going forward.
I’m the first to admit this series is opposite of what I expected with so many goals and right now I’m looking at these teams to tighten up on defense. Take under 5.5 tonight.