In a seven game series that's tied up at two, Game 5 usually ends up settling things. For the first 20 minutes of Monday's night's game against the Bruins, it looked the Lightning were the team that wanted that win more. They scored on their very first shot of the game, and wound up outshooting the Bruins 14-4 in the first period. But that, unfortunately is where the highlights stopped for Tampa Bay.
Tim Thomas started to dominate the game, and the Lightning started to get a little sloppy on the faceoff, and the Bruins came storming back. When it was all said and done, the Bruins got a 3-1 win, and a now commanding 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals as the series shifts back to Tampa Bay. According to Erik Erlendsson of Tampa Bay Online, Guy Boucher was happy with his team's effort in the first period, but it went all downhill from there.
"We played extremely well that first period,'' Boucher said. "We were very poised with the puck, and it was something we wanted to correct from the previous two games where we had too many turnovers. I think we didn't really have any turnovers in the first period. We played really good, and should have had probably one or two other goals.''
If you ask our Lightning blog Raw Charge, the big difference in the game came down to the faceoff battles; particularly Dominic Moore's really sub par performance.
While the Lightning outshot and out-chanced the Bruins, faceoffs were what ended up doing them in. Steven Stamkos did better than usual in the faceoff circle, winning four of 13 draws (31%). Vincent Lecavalier was about average for him, winning 52% (14 of 27), and Adam Hall went a nice 67%, winning 6 of 10. But Dominic Moore was dismal. He was O-fer on the night (0-7).
The Lightning will still have a chance to get even in the series on Wednesday, but even if they manage to do so, they still face the unattractive prospect of a Game 7 back in Boston.