May 23, 2011, 10:37 AM EDT
Today brings us Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Bruins and Lightning and for Tampa Bay it presents the chance to send Boston reeling. After all, it was the Bruins who blew a 3-0 lead in Game 4 only to lose 5-3 after coming unglued in the second period and unable to recover.
If Tampa Bay can take the Bruins out in Game 5 tonight, they’ll put the Bruins on the brink of being knocked out of the playoffs and put themselves into the Stanley Cup final for the first time since 2004. Writing that sentence and saying that out loud is a lot easier than actually doing it though, but the Lightning do have a tremendous opportunity to follow up on what they started in Game 4. With the Lightning getting great supporting play from the likes of Teddy Purcell and Sean Bergenheim, they’re giving the Bruins fits in trying to keep up with all of them.
Boston needs to find that killer stroke and the motivation that they had for the first 20 minutes of Game 4 and all of Game 3. Somewhere along the line in Game 4 they lost their way, much in part to Tampa Bay counter-punching them and never letting up in what they were doing. Boston’s shown the ability to fight back, but it disappeared in the final 40 minutes. While Patrice Bergeron brought his “A” game on Saturday, the Bruins first line of Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, and David Krejci were useless. Tomas Kaberle wasn’t so hot himself.
NBC’s Liam McHugh asks Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury what they think needs to happen in Game 5 for both of these teams to come away with a 3-2 series lead once the night is through.
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