BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins had a chance to close out the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night, punching their ticket to the Stanley Cup finals, but instead mental errors got in the way.
Three Bruin penalties led to three Lightning goals, making a 2-1 Boston lead a 4-2 deficit.
Just 30 seconds after David Krejci scored to make it 4-3 Tampa in the third, the Bruins gave up a 2-on-1 breakaway leading to a Martin St. Louis goal. 4-3 Lightning, and momentum gone for the Bruins.
They also went 0-for-5 on the power play, making it 4-for-61 in the playoffs.
The Bruins did not help themselves on faceoffs either. Despite them only going 34-31 in the Lightnings favor, Tampa scored the first goal of the game just 35-seconds in off a faceoff in the Bruins zone. David Krejci was kicked out of the drop, and when Chris Kelly could not come up with the win Teddy Purcell fired it through a pair of screens to beat Thomas.
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There were plenty of “goats” in Game 6, but everyone seems to be picking on defenseman Johnny Boychuk. Rightfully so, he was on the ice for all five of Tampa’s goals, with three of them coming from his side of the ice. He spent the night roaming around the ice, rather than shutting down his zone.
Tomas Kaberle must have have been relieved he was not the worst defenseman on the ice.
There were some bright spots in the loss. David Krejci and the Bruins first line dominated their time on the ice. Krejci netted the Bruins first playoff hat-trick since 1991, when team president Cam Neely put a trio of pucks in the back of the net. Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were aggressive all night, accounting for 10 of the Bruins 20 shots. Lucic’ goal to tie the game at one in the first period was a thing of beauty, with perfect tic-tac-toe passes from both Horton and Boychuck.
“That line needed to be big for us and they were,” coach Claude Julien said after the game. “That’s certainly something that you can build on heading home, that if those guys played like that again, you like our chances.”
The Bruins have not been a team to quit this postseason. They came back from an 0-2 hole against the Canadiens in the first round, and even better, won a Game 7 at home against their biggest rivals. Game 7 victories have eluded the Bruins the last four years, but this year’s win gives them experience, and confidence, for Friday night’s big game.
“We worked the whole year to get home advantage, and we have it,” Krejci said after the loss. “Now we’re going to go back home… We’ll start with a fresh beginning in front of our fans in our home building.”
“I think that’s one of the key things that if you can get home ice advantage this time of year, you need to take advantage of it,” said Julien. We did against Montreal and now we need to do the same thing against Tampa.”
“It’s not over,” added Krejci “We’re still one win away from a Stanley cup final and we’re not going to quit. That’s what we want really bad, and that’s what we’re going to fight for in Game 7.”
“The good thing being up 3-2 is we have another chance,” said Lucic. “We were able to make the most out of that chance (against Montreal). We came up big and played the way we wanted to play and had a great start in that game. It’s going to be the same thing.”
“Obviously we’re further down the road here but you have to be excited for it,” he continued. “You have to enjoy it. You have to be looking forward to that challenge. For a lot of us, it’s the biggest game of our careers.”
Every game of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bruins and Lightning can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub with pregame coverage beginning 60 minutes before each game with the Dunkin Donuts Bruins Pregame show.