The Boston Bruins had Game 4 in hand with a commanding 3-0 lead going into the second period. They were rolling along...then the wheels came off.
Not to say that Tampa Bay played badly during the last two periods, but the Bruins did play very poor defense and allowed the Lightning to get back into the game.
Tampa Bay has a habit of getting back into games from behind throughout the playoffs and this was a perfect example of never-give-up hockey.
Should the Bruins have sat on a 3-0 lead? Most logically, yes. By any stretch, this is usually a slam dunk and the crowd in Tampa Bay had the wind taken out of their sails.
The old cliche popped up. Never give up on your team. Especially this team.
The Bruins capitalized on all their chances and that included two from Michael Ryder and a shorthanded goal by Patrice Bergeron.
TBL Coach Guy Boucher pulled Dwayne Roloson and placed Mike Smith between the pipes in hopes to stop the bleeding. So far, The Bruins have not scored on Smith.
Then the other Newfoundlander, Lightning's Teddy Purcell decided to make the game interesting by scoring one goal off a turnover by Tim Thomas and the second goal off a turnover by Tomas Kaberle, who should have played the puck harder. Both goals were a minute and three seconds apart.
So the prides of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada was got four of the five goals up to this point. Hockey camps across the island and mainland Labrador will be filling up after this.
Sean Bergenheim got into the act just under three minutes later and tied the game at three apiece.
Going into the third period, both teams knew they had to buckle down and keep this tight as the next goal was sure to be the winner.
Lightning's Milan Lucic turned the puck over in the B's side of the Neutral Zone to Ryan Malone, who passed it to Simone Gagne (a.k.a Clutch B's killer last season) and scored the game winner.
They added the empty netter to ice the game and bring it back to Boston for a best of three.
On the up side, the Bruins will get home-ice advantage on Game 5 and when the Bruins did lose Game 1, they bounced back quite well and hung in there for Game 2 and played a complete game for Game 3.
For the Bruins, they hope there is a pattern of lose one, win two. If that can come to fruition, then the B's will have this in Tampa Bay for Game 6.
First thing's first. They need to get Game 5 out of the way and come away with a win.
The Bruins should learn by now that they cannot sit back on this team. They learned this lesson on the Montreal Canadiens. If they do again, then they do not deserve to go to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tampa Bay has proven that a full game is required to win in the playoffs.
So we are now shipping up to Boston for Game 5, Monday, 8 pm EST and if Tim Thomas and the rest of the Black and Gold are the same team that I have seen in these playoffs thus far, then Game 5 should be theirs. If not, the game will get interesting and could be a 3-2 series for TBL.
Until then, see you on Monday.
This is Cory Ducey Saying "Hit Hard, But Keep It Clean."