WHERE: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 8 PM EDT | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA:Versus, CBC, RDS (television), 620 WDAE (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Stanley Cup of Chowder, Something's Bruin, The Hub of Hockey, Bruins Zone
For the second time during the 2011 NHL Playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning enter a game on the brink of elimination from the playoffs at the hands of a team clad in black, yellow and white. The Lightning overcame such an obstacle during the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and squeezed off 8 consecutive wins to reach the Conference Finals.
Now, it's the Boston Bruins that have the Lightning backed to the edge of a cliff. One false move and they'll plunge into the abyss of the 2011 off-season.
But fans and the team should remember, the abyss is not the focal point that has rallied the troops during the NHL's second season. The Bolts have focused on the hunt ("Hunt It Now") and the most vital thing of all in the NHL Playoffs: Stay Alive.
Sean Bergenheim is a big quesiton mark for tonight's game in Tampa. He suffered what is believed to be a groin injury during the 1st period of Monday's loss in Boston. That's a major blow for the Lightning, as Isberg's 9 goals lead the NHL this post-season.
Meanwhile, Dana Tyrell is supposed to be back healthy. Not only had Tyrell been nursing a foot injury during the playoffs, but the minute he came back healthy... he got hit with the flu. With Isberg being out, Coach Boucher has to wonder if going with the 11/7 roster split is ideal for tonight (and playing an injured Randy Jones) or if the Bolts should play both Tyrell and Blair Jones and the more typical 12-forward, 6 defenseman roster split.
For what i's worth, Bergenheim did participate in the morning skate -- albeit while wearing sweats and not hockey gear. Take that for what you will.
Whoever does start for the Lightning, they are charged with getting the better of Bruins goalie Tim Thomas multiple times. While the Bolts have been able to quick-strike on Thomas time and again during this series, Tim has, more-often than not, stonewalled things after giving up that initial tally.
Dwayne Roloson will be back between the pipes tonight for the Lightning. Some saw Mike Smith's start in Boston on Monday as the ultimate redemption for the netminder... I see it more as giving Roloson the chance to reload. It should not be an indication that Smith will be re-signed/should be re-signed. It was a game.
Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk will be in the lineup tonight. He got his bell rung by a Steve Downie check, hitting his head into the glass on the hit. He said he was "foggy" after the hit, but he is good to go for tonight.
In some news from around the event, the Lightning will be "charging" the Garrison Channel blue before tonight's game: Dumping 36 gallons of dye into the waters before game time:
...fans....are advised to arrive at Cotanchobee Park three and a half hours prior to the puck drop to kick off the action, as Thunderbug will join Yacht Star Ships in depositing 36 gallons of blue dye into the channel. There will also be a chance for fans to enter to win one free pair of Channelside Club tickets to Game 6 on site from 4:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. The winner will be contacted by telephone two hours prior to the start of the game. Bolts Nation fan packs will be distributed to the first 100 individuals who arrive at the park.
Dying the Garrison Channel blue not only serves as an excellent opportunity for the community to go "All In" with the Lightning during its 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs run, but also to raise awareness about the importance of Tampa Bay’s aquatic ecosystems. The dye being used to ‘charge’ the channel is not harmful to marine life and has been approved by both the Environmental Protection Commission, as well as the Florida Aquarium.
Also of note: While there are tickets still available through brokers, the game will be broadcast outside the Forum this evening by the team in the West Plaza. I would personally advise fans who participate in watching the game outdoors to arrive late. While prime spots will be taken up early (consider arriving to park early), the crowd before the game in the west plaza will be huge, and not exactly the place to hang out with a lawn-chair and cooler... at least not until closer to game time at 8 PM.