TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brayden Point and J.T. Miller scored second-period goals, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 Sunday and advance to the Eastern Conference final for the third time in four years.
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots — 14 in the final period — for the Lightning, who rebounded from losing the series opener at home to eliminate the Bruins in five games.
David Krejci scored on the power play in the final minute of the first period to give Boston a 1-0 lead that Point erased with his unassisted goal at 10:43 of the second.
Miller’s power-play goal broke the tie less than four minutes later, and Anton Stralman added an empty-netter with 1:29 remaining to end any chance for a Boston comeback.
One day after being put “on notice” by the NHL for licking Lightning forward Ryan Callahan during Friday night’s overtime loss in Game 4, there were no more such incidents involving Bruins winger Brad Marchand, who also made headlines after appearing to lick Toronto’s Leo Komarov in the first round.
Marchand was given an edict Saturday to stop licking opponents or face a possible fine or suspension for future incidents.
Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said before the game that he talked with Marchand, delivering a simple, straight-forward message: “We need you on the ice, we need you playing. If part of his M.O. is to annoy people, find a different way to annoy them. Preferably by scoring some goals, that would be the best way.”
The Lightning once again did a good job of containing Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Marchand. Although the trio combined for 23 points in the series (seven goals, 16 assists), about half that production (11 points) came in the Bruins’ 6-2 win in Game 1.
Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy assisted on Krejci’s goal, but Vasilevskiy came up big against the high-scoring line with four huge saves — one on Bergeron’s point-blank shot — in the closing minutes while Tampa Bay was killing off Boston’s last power-play opportunity.
NOTES: Bruins RW David Backes left the ice after taking a hard hit from Miller with just under eight minutes remaining in the second period. He did not return. … The Lightning improved to 5-1 in Game 5s when holding a 3-1 series lead. … Boston played without D Torey Krug, who injured his left ankle during Game 4. Nick Holden took over Krug’s spot, making his first appearance since Game 3 of Boston’s opening-round series against Toronto.
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