May 23, 2011, 7:18 PM EST
While Game 5 contests like tonight’s don’t always decide a series, teams who take 3-2 series leads move onto the next round almost 80 percent of the time. Sure, both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have fought off series deficits in the first round, but each squad would love a little breathing room.
Tampa Bay @ Boston (Versus) – 8 p.m. ET; Series tied 2-2
Generally speaking, the Lightning have been the steadier of the two squads, with only Game 3’s effort being a bit disappointing. On the other hand, Boston has been borderline schizophrenic in this series. They flopped badly in Game 1, won a wild Game 2, played their typical defensively suffocating style in Game 3 and then went from way up to way down in game 4. No doubt about it, the Bruins will kick themselves even harder for squandering a 3-0 first period in Game 4 if they lose again in Game 5.
The biggest question for Tampa Bay is net. Will they go with the guy who brought them to the Eastern Conference finals yet finds himself faltering a bit at the moment (Dwayne Roloson) or the backup who didn’t allow a goal in relief duty in Game 4 (Mike Smith)? Lightning coach Guy Boucher is being coy about which goalie will start, but if I had to guess, I’d say he picks Roloson. We’ll find out soon enough, though.
Here are a few more stories to chew on as Game 5 approaches:
- Did Tim Thomas unwittingly give the Lightning some bulletin board material?
- Should the Bruins bench mostly ineffective offensive defenseman Tomas Kaberle? They’ve shown an impressive amount of patience with his mistakes so far.
- Watch Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire’s preview of Game 5 in this video.
- Joe’s Five Thoughts regarding Tampa Bay’s come-from-behind win in Game 4.
- Finally, enjoy this tribute to Boucher’s glorious rage from Game 3.
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- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder 74
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- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder (67)