for this game

Bruins take Game 5, take 3-2 lead over Lightning

May 24, 2011 - 6:06 AM
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Brad Marchand scored the game-winner in the second and Tim Thomas made 33 saves as the Boston Bruins took a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The win gives Boston a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series and the team will have its first chance at moving to the Stanley Cup Finals in Game 6 on Wednesday in Tampa.

The last time the Bruins vied for the Cup came in 1990 when a Ray Bourque-led team lost in five games to Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers.

Nathan Horton tied the game early in the second while Rich Peverley sealed the win with an empty-netter for the Bruins, who bounced back from Saturday's 5-3 loss which saw them blow an early three-goal lead.

"We had a tough start to this game but we were able to turn it around," said Thomas. "Tampa was able to do it in their building the other night and we showed character by turning it around in our builiding tonight."

Simon Gagne scored the lone goal for the Lightning, who got 17 saves from starter Mike Smith.

Smith was making the first playoff start of his career as he got the nod in place of Dwayne Roloson. Smith stopped all 21 shots he faced in Game 4 to take the win in a relief role after Roloson allowed three goals in the first 18 minutes of the game.

"He played really well for us and he's played really well for us all year," said Tampa head coach Guy Boucher about Smith. "I give people a chance and I thought he deserved a chance. At the same time it gave Roloson a breather like Vancouver did with [Roberto] Luongo and he came back and they've been winning since. It's a decision I don't regret at all."

It took just 69 seconds for the Lightning to take the lead thanks to a 2-on-1 break. A turnover in their own end by Boston saw Steven Stamkos take it down the right wing and his feed over to the left was redirected into the net by Gagne.

Smith had to make just four stops in the first period to keep Boston off the board, but he gave up two in the middle frame to give up the lead.

From a right circle faceoff win, Milan Lucic curled over to the boards and fired a pass over to the left circle where Horton's one-timer sailed past Smith at the 4:24 mark.

With just over four minutes to play in the middle stanza, Boston grabbed the lead. Good work in the Tampa end saw Patrice Bergeron grab the puck and snap it over to the left where Marchand fought off a checker to get his stick on the puck and snap it in for his sixth goal of the year.

Tampa nearly tied it about two minutes into the second when Blair Jones found himself down low on a rush, but his shot was tipped by Thomas and caromed off the right post.

Just over nine minutes into the third, Thomas made the save of the playoffs thus far. A shot from the high point went wide of the net, but it took a strong bounce off the boards to the left side of the net. There, Steve Downie had a wide open net facing him, but Thomas made a desperation dive and got his stick on the puck to keep it out

Not to be outdone, Smith kept it a one-goal game moments later when he used the glove to swallow a Zdeno Chara backhander.

That was to be it for the good chances for Tampa. Boston was able to keep the chances to a minimum and Peverley's empty-netter with 13 seconds remaining moved the hosts within a game of its first Cup appearance in 21 years.

Game Notes

Boston right winger Mark Recchi played in the 180th playoff game of his career...Both teams went 0-for-4 on the power play...The Lightning fell to 6-3 as the visitors in the playoffs while Boston improved to 6-3 as the host.