It was the best game Steven Stamkos has played in this post-season notching a goal and two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning squeaked out a 5-4 victory over the Boston Bruins tonight, forcing the Eastern Conference Final to a seventh and deciding game.
“It's tough. They've got a good penalty kill. I thought the last couple games we struggled on the power play. And that's where we usually excel and we beat teams. So today we made a few adjustments, but it was just about getting pucks to the net,” Stamkos told ESPN after the game. His goal was his first power play marker of the series.
The Lightning kicked things off early in Game 6 as just 36 seconds into the games first period, Teddy Purcell took a Vincent Lecavalier pass off an offensive-zone faceoff and snapped one past Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas.
Then after falling back 2-1 after the first period the Lightning offense got going again in the second with back-to-back goals on the powerplay, first from Martin St. Louis and then Teddy Purcell notched his second of the game.
The Bruins then fell behind 4-2 early in the third period and although they managed to make things close, scoring two goals in third period, they were unable to produce any late game heroics similar to what we saw in the Vancouver Canucks/San Jose Sharks game last night.
“Nobody said it’s going to be easy. Nobody said it’s going to be a series with one team dominating,” captain Zdeno Chara told the Boston Herald. “It’s an even series with one game to go. The winner moves on and the loser goes home.”
While the Lightning were able to force a Game 7 with a victory, it was another unconvincing performance in the Tampa Bay net. After a Game 5 loss in which Guy Boucher gave backup goaltender Mike Smith the reigns, Boucher decided to go with Dwayne Roloson in goal tonight. And while Roloson improved his record to 7-0 in playoff elimination games, his performance was far from his best. The 41-year-old allowed four goals on just 20 shots.
“We won," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher told CBS Sports. “That's all. That's what we're asking. We're asking for a chance to win and that's what we got tonight.”
Both teams will get the day off on Thursday as Game 7 goes Friday from the TD Garden in Boston.