I hope your sitting down for this one. Mostly because I see no reason for you to be standing before a computer. Wouldn’t sitting be more comfortable? You can disagree if you want. Go ahead and stand while you read this. I cannot make such decisions for you. I can recap Monday’s game and preview Tuesday’s, however.
Boston and Tampa Bay took the ice for game five with their series all tied up, and with the Lightning making a surprise move. They decided to start Mike Smith in place of Dwayne Roloson in net. Simply put, this was not a wise move. Roloson is the better goalie. All the statistics back that point up. Plus, he had played really well in this year’s playoffs for the most part. He still has one of the best save percentages amongst postseason netminders. Unless he was fatigued or hurt, this was not a good decision, regardless of the result.
Nevertheless, things started off well for the Lightning, as they got on the board first with a goal from Simon Gagne. That was the only goal of the first period. In the second period, Nathan Horton evened things up by blasting the puck past Smith. Later in that period, Brad Marchand put the Bruins on top with a goal of his own. There was no scoring until late in the third period, when Rich Peverley put a puck in an empty net to give the Bruins the 3-1 win and the 3-2 series lead.
Smith made 17 saves on 19 shots, while Tim Thomas stopped 33 shots. Thomas also made what might have been the save of the playoffs, as he barely kept a puck out of the net with a lunging stick save. Smith had a nice glove save of his own, however. While Smith played well, the Lightning couldn’t solve Thomas after that early goal. Now, the Bruins have the lead and look likely to win this series. I’m not counting out Tampa Bay just yet, however. At the very least, I could certainly seem them pushing this series to seven games.
There is a chance of a series ending Tuesday, as Vancouver hosts San Jose with a chance to win the series in five and head to their first Stanley Cup Finals since the 1993-1994 season. It will be a tough task for the Sharks to win on the road to stave off elimination, but they’ve got the talent to do it. They just need to be more disciplined. Penalties cost them in game four, and have been an issue throughout the series. They’ll probably need a good game from Antti Niemi, as the Sedin twins seem to have found their form, with Henrik now leading the league in playoff points, and they have plenty of support behind them. It may be a good time for Dany Heatley to show up. Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have been strong performers in this series, while Heatley has been a non-factor. If that could change, it could at least buy the Sharks another home game.
Tuesday’s game kicks off at 9:00 PM Eastern on Versus. Will the Sharks force a game six? Or will the Canucks celebrate a trip to the Finals on home ice? We’ve got a potential elimination in the works in this one. Seems like a good reason to tune in, not that playoff hockey isn’t a good enough reason in and of itself. Enjoy the game.