Bruins hold on for 6-5 victory

Posted May 17, 2011, at 11:27 p.m.

BOSTON — Tyler Seguin had two goals and two assists and the Boston Bruins fed off the energy of the recently promoted rookie to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 and tie the Eastern Conference finals at one game each on Tuesday night.

Boston earned a split at home and snapped the Lightning’s eight-game winning streak that began when they were down 3-1 to Pittsburgh in the first round. Game 3 is at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

The Bruins have won nine of 11.

The shifty, 19-year-old Seguin, the second pick in last year’s NHL draft, was benched for the first 11 playoff games because of perceived defensive shortcomings. He rejoined the lineup for the series opener, getting a goal and an assist, when Patrice Bergeron sat out because of a mild concussion.

On Tuesday, with Bergeron still sidelined, Seguin tied it at 2 just 48 seconds into the second period then made it 4-2 at 6:30. Vincent Lecavalier cut the Lightning’s deficit to 4-3 with a power-play goal at 7:48, but Seguin set up two goals by Michael Ryder that put Boston on top 6-3 entering the third.

Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore scored in the final period for the Lightning.

Adam Hall gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead 13 seconds after the opening faceoff, the quickest goal in the team’s playoff history. In their opening 5-2 win, the Lightning set club postseason records with two goals in 19 seconds and three in 1:25, all in the first period.

Nathan Horton tied Game 2 with a power-play goal at 13:58, but the Lightning took a 2-1 lead when Martin St. Louis scored with 7 seconds left in the first period.

The Bruins came out aggressively in the second period and scored five goals.

Seguin started the barrage when he took a pass from Ryder at his blue line and used exceptional speed to race between Tampa Bay defensemen Randy Jones and Victor Hedman. Seguin went in alone on Dwayne Roloson, cut from right to left, and lifted a backhander over the sprawling goalie.

David Krejci put the Bruins ahead for good at 2:24 with the only Bruins’ goal of the second period that didn’t involve Seguin.

Boston’s Tim Thomas stopped Ryan Malone on a breakaway and, 22 seconds later, Seguin connected again at 6:30. Skating in on the right, he called for the puck. Horton passed from the left, and Seguin put in a 10-footer to the left of Roloson.

After Lecavalier cut the lead to one at 7:48, Seguin sparked the Bruins again.

His shot from the top of the right circle hit Ryder’s leg in front of the net. It slid to the left where Ryder gained control and beat Roloson at 16:16 on a power play.

The crowd chanted, “Tyler Seguin, Tyler Seguin.”

And he wasn’t through.

In the final minute of the period, he made a backhand pass from the left boards to Chris Kelly, stationed about 15 feet in front of the net. Roloson made the save but Ryder converted the rebound.

Roloson, who entered with the NHL’s best goals-against average and save percentage in this year’s playoffs was replaced at the start of the third period by Mike Smith after allowing six goals on 27 shots. Smith stopped all eight shots he faced in the third.

Boston got a scare when Stamkos scored at 3:47 of the third period, and Moore made it 6-5 at 13:15. But the Bruins held off the Lightning, ensuring that the series will return to Boston for a fifth game.

NHL NOTEBOOK:San Jose captain Joe Thornton tried to get the Western Conference finals off to a raucous start when he asked gritty Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler to drop the gloves right off the opening faceoff. “Why not?” Thornton said Tuesday, confirming he made the invitation to Kesler. “Let’s fight. Let’s start the series off with a bang.” It didn’t happen. Instead, the Canucks rallied in the third period for a 3-2 win on Sunday night. Maybe Thornton and the Sharks should be more concerned about how they finish games than how they start them. San Jose is trailing in a series for the first time this postseason and will have a chance to get even on Wednesday night in Game 2 in Vancouver. The Sharks’ inability to hold onto third-period leads nearly cost them in the second round against Detroit, when the Red Wings erased a 3-0 series deficit to force a Game 7. Even though the Sharks are behind in a series for the first time, they are all too familiar with coughed-up leads. San Jose surrendered third-period advantages in Game 5 and 6 against the Red Wings before holding off Detroit in Game 7. The Sharks were ahead 2-1 going into the third period of Game 1 against Vancouver, but gave up two goals 79 seconds apart and were outshot 13-7 in the final frame. That makes three blown third-period leads in four games for the Sharks, who were 33-2-2 during the regular season when leading after 40 minutes. “I certainly don’t feel uncomfortable with a lead,” Sharks top defenseman Dan Boyle said. “That’s where I want to be, and we have to find a way to finish people off, maybe by getting that next goal and building on that one-goal lead.” It’s a lesson the Canucks already learned — the hard way — in these playoffs. Vancouver was 38-0-3 with the lead after two periods during the regular season in which the Canucks had the NHL’s best record and topped the league in several key categories. But after surrendering a 3-0 series lead to nemesis Chicago to start the playoffs, the Canucks gave up a short-handed goal late in Game 7 before recovering to win in overtime.

 

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