Win and you’re in! This is what the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to do against the Boston Bruins in game five of the Eastern Conference semi-final. With a win today the Lightning would be getting a nice rest being the only series that could end in five this post-season. The Bruins weren’t just gonna lie down and surrender as they were on the brink of elimination. As such, they came out swinging to try to force game six back in Boston
The Lightning would take a first-period penalty putting Boston on the powerplay in the last minute of the first period. This would prove costly for Tampa as the Bruins would open the scoring in the game on that powerplay, courtesy of David Krejci.
Lined up on the left-wing Krejci would receive a pass from McAvoy and then wire the one-timer over the right arm of Andrei Vasilevskiy for the 1-0 Bruins lead. Boston outshot Tampa 9-7 in the opening frame and walked out of the first with the 1-0 lead, but Tampa was hardly going to let that stand in the second.
At the halfway point of the second period, the Lightning would draw even with Boston. On a bad turnover in the Bruins zone, Brayden Point would get the puck and the game-tying goal on a beautiful move around Tuukka Rask. Now tied 1-1 you’d think both teams would try not to give the other team a break.
Unfortunately for Boston, they would take a costly penalty fifteen minutes into the second period. J.T. Miller would score on that powerplay for Tampa on a well-placed one-timer over the left shoulder of Rask for the 2-1 lead. The second period had a low shot count at a 7-5 Tampa edge, but the game was far from over as the third awaited.
The goalies were busier in the third period. Both Vasilevskiy and Rask turned aside a number of good scoring chances as both teams tried desperately to get the upper hand. In the end, the goalies didn’t give an inch, but there was a goal on an empty net. Anton Stralman would put the icing on the cake with an empty-net goal from his own end making the final 3-1 for the Lightning.
This game was a low shooting affair with Tampa holding a 28-22 edge in shots and ultimately the 3-1 victory. This means Tampa is going to the Eastern Conference final with the 4-1 series win, they will play either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Washington Capitals for the chance to play for the Stanley Cup.