Despite falling down 3-0 in the first period, the Tampa Bay Lightning were not to be counted out. Three goals in three minutes in the middle of the second period got the Lightning back even. A shutout relief performance by Mike Smith kept it even. Then, Simon Gagne's third period goal completed the comeback, and the Lightning defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The series is now even at 2-2.
Early in this series, the Bruins were the ones making poor plays below their own red line. The last two games, a Lightning defenseman's mistake deep has gotten Boston their first goal. This time, it was Viktor Hedman making an ill-advised reversal pass behind the net to Brett Clark. Clark couldn't handle it, and it came right to Bergeron, who took it and put it five-hole on Dwayne Rolson to make it 1-0. It was Bergeron's first goal since returning from his concussion, and third of the post-season overall.
Later in the period, the Bruins got a good break. Michael Ryder was advancing in on a 2-on-1. Ryder's a natural shooter, so he tried for a bit of a surprise and made a pass attempt. It went off of Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin and into the net to give Boston a 2-0 lead. It was a lucky break, but they don't ask how. It was Ryder's fifth of the playoffs, and third of this series at 16:34 to give Boston a two-goal lead.
Almost immediately afterwards, Tampa Bay got the first power play of the game, when Dennis Seidenberg went off for a holding the stick minor at 17:51. Tampa had another unforced error, however, when Steven Stamkos made a weak pass that Patrice Bergeron swiped. Bergeron skated down the wing, and went five-hole on Roloson, and it went in. It was Bergeron's second unassisted goal of the game and fourth goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Bruins had a three-goal lead before the end of the first. Roloson was pulled for the second time in the series right after for Mike Smith.
The second period was a complete reversal. A poor play by Tim Thomas gave the Lightning life. He had trouble getting the puck cleared behind his own net. Eventually, Simon Gagne got the puck, and made a great pass to Teddy Purcell. Purcell made it a terrific forehand-to-backhand move, and back-handed it past Thomas, who still hadn't settled down in his crease, to make it 3-1. It was Purcell's third goal of the post-season at 6:55, but he wasn't nearly done.
Just a little over a minute later, Mattias Ohlund found Purcell across the ice. It wasn't the greatest angle on earth, but did Purcell ever make a beautiful snipe of a shot, toeing it up and just ripping it to the top right corner to beat Thomas. Purcell's second of the game and fourth of the playoffs came at 7:58. Two goals from a somewhat unlikely source came in a span of 1:03 made it 3-2 Boston.
Tampa Bay was still not done. Just after getting a momentum-carrying power play that couldn't cash in, the Bruins got a rush, but couldn't sustain anything, and back came Tampa. Sean Bergenheim got a pass from Dominic Moore and just ripped a shot five-hole on Thomas to tie the game. After three goals in 6:11 of elapsed time in the first period gave Boston a 3-0 lead, Bergenheim's ninth of the post-season gave the Lightning three goals in 3:58 to make it 3-3.
This has been a series of turnovers, and Tampa Bay converted one to fully complete the comeback in the third. It was a combination of problems for Boston. Tomas Kaberle blocked a heavy shot and couldn't get a change. As the Bruins tried to get it out, Ryan Malone stole it from Milan Lucic and got it ahead to Simon Gagne. Gagne had a 2-on-1 and shot it past Thomas to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead. It was Gagne's fourth of the playoffs (36th career playoff goal) at 6:54. Martin St. Louis added an empty net goal at 19:23 (his eighth of the playoffs) to seal the deal. A 5-3 Lightning win makes it a best-of-three series, even at 2-2, with Game 5 in Boston Monday night.