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Victor Hedman eliminates Bruins in double OT, Lightning advance to Eastern Conference Finals

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For the fourth time in six years, the Lightning will be in the Eastern Conference Finals

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With their backs up against the wall, the Boston Bruins threw everything they could at the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday evening. For long stretches of time, it looked as if the Lightning would falter, but time after time they bent but refused to break against the Bruins attack. With timely goals from Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay was able to have some more overtime heroics from a key player.

This time it was Victor Hedman who played the hero and sent Boston home in double overtime as the Lightning defeated the Bruins 3-2 in Game 5. Aside from Hedman’s heroics, a mountain of praise must be thrown at Andrei Vasilevskiy for his stellar play in this game and being the anchor that Tampa Bay needed when the Bruins were throwing everything at time.

Let’s get to it...

1st Period

Do you like high pace hockey where both teams go end to end, generate chances, and there is no whistle blown for minutes at a time? Well, the opening period of Game Five was the period for you!

Boston and Tampa Bay amplified the intensity to start the game as both teams utilized their speed and structure to create rush attempts and scoring chances.

That’s two great chances for the Lightning within in the first three minutes, and they wouldn’t let up on this pressure during the first half of the period either.

However, Boston wasn’t sitting back either and they managed to generate some scary chances of their own. It appeared as though both teams were willing to trade chances in this period and I really don’t know if that is the best thing to do in Tampa Bay’s case. Not because the Lightning can’t score in bunches, but giving Boston any lead is a poor decision.

Still, the Lightning still generated some good chances in the second half of the period.

Unfortunately, Tampa Bay ended up throwing their momentum away after failing to register a single shot on a four-minute power-play after Zdeno Chara high sticked Nikita Kucherov.

Kucherov left for the locker room after this play, but did skate under his own power.

After the abysmal power-play Boston took control of the period and ended up drawing a late penalty on Barclay Goodrow for hooking. Since Boston’s power-play has been its only avenue of offensive production in this series it was imperative for the Lightning penalty kill to shut down this opportunity as the period wound down. Tampa Bay did just that and managed to keep the game tied at zero.

Overall, the Lightning led in the shot attempts department 17-11, led in scoring chances 10-7, but trailed in the quality battle at 38% and high danger chances 2-4. A relatively strong start from the Lightning ended up tilting in Boston’s favor, but that isn’t overly surprising given the pressure that was on the Bruins tonight. Still, the Lightning needed to find a way to slow down Boston to pull off the elimination.

2nd Period

First, Kucherov returned to start the second period after missing the last few minutes of the first due to the highstick from Chara, so that’s an automatic boon for the Lightning.

Second, Tampa Bay came out strong in the opening five minutes and forced several prolonged shifts inside Boston’s zone. Eventually, the Lightning’s pressure paid off.

Ondrej Palat’s resurgence this season (not just in this postseason) has been great for the Lightning and it’s great that he’s finally cashing in some goals at critical times. The hand-eye coordination to make this deflection is ridiculous and was exactly what the Lightning needed to start the period.

Unfortunately, Boston’s desperation kicked in and they began to throw anything and everything toward Vasilevskiy after Palat’s goal. At 5v5, Tampa Bay was able to stem the tide, but penalty trouble hurt the Lightning one again. Shortly after Kucherov was called for tripping Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak converted on a one-timer to tie the game at 12:38.

As much as I am a fan of Mikhail Sergachev, his panicked clearing attempt is the catalyst for this goal. If he just takes an extra second to scan his surroundings then this entire sequence could’ve been prevented. Instead, Boston’s only lifeline in this series strikes again. The Bruins recorded a goal with the man advantage in every game this series.

The Lightning tried to push back after Pastrnak’s goal, and even managed a gorgeous opportunity for Palat, but Halak was there to thwart it.

The Lightning received a late power-play after Matt Grzelcyk was called for hooking Goodrow, but that chance was quickly negated after Yanni Gourde was also called for hooking shortly into the man advantage.

The ensuing four-on-four saw little action, but the abbreviated Bruins power-play pinned the Lightning in their own zone for a few shifts. Luckily, Tampa Bay weathered that pressure and closed the period out still tied.

Another problem for Tampa Bay was the health of Kucherov. He ended up leaving the game again after this play.

It’s unclear what the issue was, but losing the best player on either team is a huge blow for Tampa Bay.

Metrically, it didn’t look pretty for the Lightning, especially after Palat’s goal. Boston took control of the game from a shot attempt (25-13) and scoring chance perspective (14-5), but the Lightning won the quality battle (52%) and drew even in high danger chances (2-2). So, while Boston might have a lead on the shot clock and overall possession, they haven’t generated enough dangerous opportunities to fully tilt the game in their favor.

Still, Tampa Bay has to push back in the third if they want to head to the Eastern Conference Final tonight.

3rd Period

Kucherov did not return for the third period.

The frenetic pace of the first period started to resurface during the first few minutes of the third period. Some chances were traded between the teams early on.

The Lightning were in control of the pace of the game, but then a hit from Cedric Paquette on Charlie McAvoy gave the Bruins a bit of momentum during the middle part of the period.

You be the judge on it. I think it’s a bad hit, but one that can’t fully be blamed on Paquette. McAvoy left the game for a short amount of time before returning late in the period.

After Boston’s push following McAvoy’s hit, the Lightning made their own counter attack. They repeatedly forced offensive zone faceoffs and established pressure of those. It finally managed to pay off after a few wins.

Unfortunately, the Bruins desperation come to bite Tampa Bay once again as the period waned. Boston got some puck luck as David Krejci scored his fourth of the postseason.

Things went from bad to worse for the Lightning as Victor Hedman was called for tripping near the end of the period, but Tampa Bay managed to fend off the Bruins lethal power-play to force the game into overtime.

Overtime

Y’all are just going to get my overall emotions for the overtimes.

The Lightning looked tired in the first overtime. The opening 10 minutes of extended time saw the Bruins barrage Vasilevskiy and Tampa Bay lethargically clear the zone. After a power-play midway through the period, the Lightning started to gain some momentum, but weren’t able to capitalize off anything. They did manage to push back a bit more after the man advantage, but this was largely Boston’s period and a show of Vasilevskiy’s play.

So close, Shattenkirk. So close.

Mood: Anxious, annoyed, and grumbling at every terrible pass the Lightning make.

2nd Overtime

THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS.

VICTOR HEDMAN SENDS THE BRUINS HOME!!!!!

Mood: Ecstatic, relieved, drinking beer, and screaming.