A poor first period had the Boston Bruins down, but not out. They recovered from a 1-0 deficit after the first period and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, to take a 3-2 series lead.
Simon Gagne got the first goal of the game at 1:09 of the first period, which is notable because it was the same time at which Patrice Bergeron got his first of two goals in the first period of Game 4 in Tampa Bay. He got a pass from Steven Stamkos and deposited on Tim Thomas to give Tampa a 1-0 lead. It was Gagne's second in two games and third of the series, on the heels of getting the winner against Boston on Saturday afternoon. Gagne is continuously building a reputation as a killer of the killer B's.
Smith was solid, but didn't really need to be spectacular, making only four saves in the opening 20 minutes. The Lightning got three power play chances in the period, missing out on their first two.
After being dominated in the first, Boston got into it in the second. Early in the period, it was Boston's top offensive line that got Boston tied. The Horton-Krejci-Lucic line has tended to be very good in Boston wins, and empty in Boston losses during this series. It was Lucic who made a remarkable back-hand pass, cross-ice to Nathan Horton. Horton got off a fade-away shot that ripped past Mike Smith, who was late to getting across the net-mouth. VERSUS cameras cut straight to Dwayne Roloson, whom the Lightning spurned to allow Smith to start Game 5. Horton's seventh of the post-season made it 1-1 at 4:24.
Patrice Bergeron has been very good in this series since he returned in Game 2, and it was he who set up the goal that has given Boston a lead. He found Brad Marchand, who beat Smith. You might be surprised to discover that it was Marchand's sixth of the playoffs, but the young forward has been a key, if secondary, contributor to the Bruins attack during the post-season. That made it 2-1 Boston at 15:56, on Bergeron's 11th assist of the post-season. Boston has a chance to take a 3-2 lead in the series by holding off Tampa for 20 more minutes.
Despite getting thoroughly beaten chance and shot wise, the Bruins prevailed in the third. Tampa Bay out-shot Boston 34-20, and 11-8 in the third period. The Lightning pulled Mike Smith with a little more than 40 seconds left, but it proved to be too late, as the Lightning were unable to get the chance they needed to tie it, and Rich Peverly got an empty net goal with 12.1 seconds to go to seal it. The Bruins will head back to Tampa for Game 6 with a chance to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 1990.