ECF Game 5 recap: Tampa Bay Lightning (5) at Boston Bruins (3)
The Tampa Bay Lightning lost Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Boston Bruins by a score of 3-1.
Don't let the score fool you. The Lightning were very much in this game for almost the entire 60 minutes. The Lightning dominated play for much of it, but in the end couldn't figure out how to get more pucks past Tim Thomas.
Mike Smith started the game, which many thought was a surprise move. In fact, on Twitter, most weren't sure if Lightning head coach Guy Boucher was pulling everyone's leg. Some were suggesting that Dwayne Roloson would still start, despite all indications that Smith was the starter. Which should give you a pretty good idea about what many people think about Boucher.
And Smith did very well - especially considering that Boucher didn't tell Smitty he was starting until right after lunch. The Bruins didn't shoot much on him, which actually makes it more difficult for goaltenders, and you can't fault him on those two goals he let in. (The third goal against the team was an empty netter.) For someone who people would cringe at the thought of starting a regular season game, he didn't disappoint.
The big disappointment of the night was Sean Bergenheim being injured. Of course, this being playoffs - and the NHL, no one's saying what happened. Speculation has ranged from a groin pull to a Charley horse. And Boucher isn't sure when he'll be back - not that that's any great help, since he'd say that probably even if he knew. Bergenheim left the game during the first period, playing only six shifts for a total of 4:19 in ice time.
That took a lot out of the team, I think - Bergenheim's injury. They really weren't able to recover from that. It's funny how dependent a team can become on a hot player in such a short amount of time.
While the Lightning outshot and out-chanced the Bruins, faceoffs were what ended up doing them in. Steven Stamkos did better than usual in the faceoff circle, winning four of 13 draws (31%). Vincent Lecavalier was about average for him, winning 52% (14 of 27), and Adam Hall went a nice 67%, winning 6 of 10. But Dominic Moore was dismal. He was O-fer on the night (0-7).
Penalties weren't as horrifically bad as usual. The only really questionable call on the night went against Steve Downie. It was similar to how Downie received that diving call the last game (the hitter was called initially for boarding, which was later changed to roughing), only he was the hitter. He was called for boarding, and the fellow he hit wasn't called for anything.
The next game will be Wednesday, 25 May. Game time is at 8 pm Eastern, and will be broadcast on Versus in the US / CBC in Canada. If you're not going to the game, stop in and say hi to us here at Raw Charge. The game thread opens at 7 pm.