Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
The Eastern Conference finals return to Boston knotted at two games apiece. The Bruins are -155 favorites over the Lightning with the over/under goal total is set at 5.5.
In a shocking turn of events, Boston squandered a three-goal lead as Tampa Bay handed them a 5-3 defeat to even their Eastern Conference at two games apiece. It might not have been the biggest comeback we’ve seen in this postseason put it was perhaps the most shocking. The Bruins were coming off a dominating 2-0 victory in game three and looked to have solved the Lightning offense after shutting them down in the opening 20 minutes making it four straight scoreless periods versus one of the top offensive squads in the league. After finally looking like the top defensive team in the playoffs versus a potent TB, the Lightning roared to life and turned the tables on their rivals.
Teddy Purcell paced the Tampa Bay offense with a pair of goals within a 1:03 span of the second period while Simon Gagne netted the eventual game winner in the third. Sean Bergenheim scored the equalizer in the Lightning’s three-goal middle frame while Martin St Louis put the game out of reach with an empty net tally with less than a minute left in regulation. The bad news in the thrilling victory was another poor performance from 41-year-old net minder Dwayne Roloson who gave up all three Bruins goals in just 18 minutes. He was pulled for the second time in three games and replaced by Mike Smith.
Smith was flawless stopping all 21 chances for his first career postseason victory and was also perfect in relief in game two when he made eight saves in the third period after Roloson gave up five goals through two periods. Boston received a pair of tallies from Patrice Bergeron who has played brilliantly in two games back from a concussion he suffered against Philadelphia. One was an unassisted shorthanded score while Michael Ryder found the back of the net when his shot deflected off a skate out front The first period was the last good news from a Boston perspective especially for Tim Thomas.
Thomas eventually ended the contest with 32 saves on 36 shots but his performance in this game and game two’s 6-5 victory have been less than inspiring as he has hardly looked like a Vezina Trophy candidate. With the series tied 2-2 heading back to Boston I have to say the momentum swings in this series have been sudden and dramatic and the low scoring defensive style of play just hasn’t materialized except for game three. I honestly don’t have a whole lot of confidence in either team right now, as both have looked bad often so right now I’m looking at value and that’s with the visitors. Take the Lightning plus 135.
Tampa Bay Lightning +135 Boston Bruins