Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Black and Gold are getting it done
At times in the last few years as I got into the team more and more, I honestly never thought the Boston Bruins would reach this point in my entire life.
They are on the cusp of the Stanley Cup finals (for the first time in 21 years) after last night's 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.
As everyone knows, closing out a team is the toughest part (especially for this franchise) but don't you have the feeling that this year is different?
The B's are up 3-2 in the series thanks to another outstanding performance from goaltender Tim Thomas (33 saves). He made the save of the season (which really shouldn't surprise you if you've watched him for years) on Lightning scumbag Steve Downie which left Downie pouting alone on the bench after the game had long ended. Strange cat.
Tampa Bay gave Mike Smith (17 saves) his first career playoff start and he wasn't good or bad. The two goals that he gave up were impossible to stop by anyone while Boston added an empty-netter to close it out.
The crazy part about the win was that the Lightning came out flying in the first period while the Bruins seemed to be stuck in the locker room, on the tarmac at Logan Airport or at some other undisclosed location.
Simon Gagne gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead 1:09 into regulation after a 2-on-1 break from Steven Stamkos. Andrew Ference got caught up ice and Gagne was able to pot his fifth of the playoffs. If I had been in Boston at the time, I might have jumped off the Tobin Bridge but thankfully the Bruins always always play better from behind as everybody knows at this point.
Thomas held the fort for the rest of the period and his teammates finally woke up from their zombie-like slumber near the end of the frame as they got engaged physically and put four (4!) shots on Smith.
Nathan Horton was one of the only Bruins that was emotionally into it from the start (and that caused two stupid penalties on him) but he tied it up at 4:24 of the second period on a sublime one-timer. Horton's seventh of the playoffs (called by Ryan before the game started) featured a great backhand assist from Milan Lucic and Krejci had the second helper.
Brad Marchand (or as my girlfriend mistakenly called him-The Marshmallow Man) scored the game-winner at 15:56 after an even sweeter feed from Patrice Bergeron. Stationed along the boards, Bergeron whipped a forehand pass to Marchand, who skated past Martin St. Louis and tipped it past Smith (for his sixth of the playoffs). Zdeno Chara had the second assist as he started the play by holding the puck in Tampa Bay's zone.
Thomas made a huge save (helped out by the post) on Adam Hall early in the third period and then came the bananas stop on Downie which barely left the roof on the Garden.
Rich Peverley (second of the playoffs) put it away with an empty-netter at 19:47 of the third period, assisted by Chris Kelly.
So here we are. One more win and the Bruins will get to a place that nobody and I mean nobody predicted they would find themselves this postseason or maybe ever again. Game 6 is tomorrow night in Tampa Bay and Lightning part-time serial killer and head coach Guy Boucher has already announced that Dwayne Roloson is the starter again in between the pipes. It could be some gamesmanship from the Butcher, we shall see. If it's true, advantage Bruins.
Nothing is ever easy for this team or this franchise but for God's sakes, get it over tomorrow night. I don't want to see them in another Game 7 with a trip to the Stanley Cup finals on the line.