Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eastern Conference Finals - Game Six

When the Boston Bruins had a chance to close out the Montreal Canadiens in game six of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, several things went against them. First of all, that was the game where forward Milan Lucic got called for a questionable boarding penalty in which he got a game misconduct. Secondly, the Bruins got completely dominated at the face-off circle losing 35-27 and got out-hit by Montreal 23-11. Lastly, the referees played into the fans way too much. Nothing sells more than a game seven in the playoffs. I am not saying the refs were hoping for the home team to win that night, but I am saying that tonight's game six was not going to be easy even though Boston has a 18-4 all time record when leading a series 3-2.

Although prior to the drop of the puck the Bruins were informed of some news that could possibly end up playing in their favor. Lightning third line forward Sean Bergenheim was ruled out for game six with a lower body injury that he suffered when he collided with Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg early in game five. Bergenheim leads all playoff scorers with nine goals, so Tampa Bay lost a huge weapon. Also, Dwayne Roloson was given the start in net tonight for the Lightning. Roloson was pulled in game four and did not start in game five. Would these circumstances play in favor of the Bruins tonight?

The first period produced yet another quick goal for the Lightning. Teddy Purcell put the Lightning on top 1-0 when Vincent Lecavalier won a face-off and Purcell took the one time shot that went past Tim Thomas. From that point on it was all about the Bruins. Tampa Bay committed two penalties and Boston looked great on the power play even though they did not produce a goal with the man advantage. Milan Lucic tied the game on a shot that stemmed from great passing in the neutral zone by Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuk. With a few minutes left in the period, Daniel Paille passed the puck across to David Krejci and he put the puck past Dwayne Roloson to put the Bruins on top 2-1. That was how the score looked after the first 20 minutes.

The second period seemed to be an undisciplined one for Boston. Even though they had their fair share of scoring opportunities, they could not find the back of the net. The Bruins took two really stupid penalties in the second period. The first one came when Dennis Seidenberg cross-checked Adam Hall. The second one came when Rich Peverley interfered with Marc-Andre Bergeron in Boston's offensive zone. How is that possible? Either way, Tampa Bay capitalized on both power play opportunities as Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell were the goal scorers. The Bruins trailed the Lightning 3-2 heading into the third period.

The third period started with Boston on the penalty kill because defenseman Andrew Ference got called for a cross-checking penalty towards the end of the second period. Once again, the Lightning scored a power play goal on the stick of Steven Stamkos. The Bruins got one back on the power play. That's right, the power play! David Krejci was the goal scorer on assists from Nathan Horton and Tomas Kaberle. Krejci would add another goal later on in the period for a hat trick. However, Martin St. Louis scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway pass from Steve Downie. The Bruins lose to the Lightning 5-4 and they force a game seven that will be played on Friday night back in Boston.

The Bruins did not have a bad game. The power play looked good but they should do a little less passing and a little more shooting. Tim Thomas let a couple of goals in that he should have had and he knew it. The problem tonight for the Bruins was trying to stay out of the penalty box. They allowed three power play goals and that was essentially the game. Statistically the Bruins are the best 5-on-5 team in the league. If they can stay under control and play their style of hockey, they will win game seven. Otherwise it could be another long offseason.

Gold Star: David Krejci (3 goals, +2 rating, 4 shots on goal, 56% face-offs won).

Black Star: Andrew previously mentioned, the Lightning had three power play goals. One of them came as a result of a penalty by Ference. That cross-check call should not have been committed. He should have kept his cool. Also, he was out of position at the top of the blue line and occasionally got out-muscled along the boards.

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