The 2011 NHL playoff schedule lists four teams still standing, although none have been as hot as the Lightning. The Bruins found that out all too well in Game 1, after Tampa Bay blew by in the first period and cruised from there. As such, Boston knew that if it couldn’t bounce back in Game 2, there was a good chance that it might not play at home again. Yet the Lightning’s long playoff winning streak finally ended Tuesday, albeit not without some big scares first.
Tampa Bay has breezed through its postseason for the last few weeks. But it will now meet with some adversity once again after a 6-5 loss in Game 2. According to the Associated Press, things started out quite well for the team after Adam Hall scored just 13 seconds into the first period and Martin St. Louis struck with seven seconds left in the same.
But the second is where everything turned for the Bruins, as 19-year-old Tyler Seguin got the ball rolling 43 seconds in. In fact, the rookie tallied up two goals and two assists in the period alone, while Michael Ryder had two goals of his own in that span. By the time the spurt was over, the Bruins held a 6-3 lead with 20 minutes to go.
Of course, things wouldn’t end so easily for Boston, as Tampa Bay fought back to close the deficit to 6-5. Yet in the final seven minutes, Tim Thomas finally settled down and closed out the Lightning at long last. With this rare show of defense, the home team got the win it so desperately needed.
Boston won’t need to rally from a 2-0 deficit, as it had to do against Montreal when the playoffs started. As for Tampa Bay, it has to recover from a loss for the first time since Game 4 of the first round against Pittsburgh. But after that loss, the Lightning needed three straight wins just to stay alive, although the stakes in this case aren’t so dire.
Still, now that Tampa Bay’s eight-game winning streak is over, time will tell if it can start another one, especially now that Boston has new life. But the Lightning won’t get anywhere if Dwayne Rolson is lit up again, as the formerly hot goaltender had to be pulled for the third period. However, the Bruins’ playoff journey will still end quickly if Thomas doesn’t improve; he’s already given up 10 goals in the series.
At least one conference final in the NHL won’t end with a sweep, as the Lightning and Bruins are on schedule to return to Boston in Game 5. But before then, the two teams are headed for Tampa Bay, with the Lightning looking to rally back in Game 3 Thursday.
NHL.com- “2011 Conference Finals Schedule”
Yahoo Sports- “Bruins edge Lightning 6-5 to tie Eastern finals”