Fri, May 27, 2011 - Page 20 News List

NHL: Lightning stay alive in East

AFP, TAMPA, FLORIDA

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos celebrates after scoring against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday in Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference finals in Tampa, Florida.

Photo: Reuters

Martin St Louis and Teddy Purcell both scored twice on Wednesday as Tampa Bay stayed alive in the NHL playoffs with a 5-4 victory over Boston.

Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson survived a hat-trick by Boston’s David Krejci as the Lighting knotted the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series at three games apiece.

Game 7 is today in Boston, with the winner of the series advancing to face the Vancouver Canucks in the Stanley Cup finals.

The Bruins are seeking their first trip to the Stanley Cup finals in 21 years, while the Lightning will try to return to the NHL championship series for the first time since they captured their only title in 2004.

Both Tampa Bay and Boston are facing a Game 7 for the second time this post-season. Boston beat Montreal in seven games in the first round and Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh in seven in their opening series — coming back from a 3-1 series deficit.

“We knew it was going to be a long series,” St Louis said. “It comes down to one game. Luckily, and fortunately, all our team has been through a Game 7.”

“Some of us have played more [than one], but everyone has had that experience. We know what to expect. The fourth win is always the toughest one to get, and both teams are going to battle hard to get it,” he said.

Tampa Bay seized control when St Louis, Purcell and Steven Stamkos scored power-play goals in a 12-minute stretch spanning the second and third periods.

Purcell had opened the scoring with a goal on Tampa Bay’s first shot.

Lucic countered for Boston less than seven minutes later and Krejci made it 2-1 for the Bruins with 3 minutes, 30 seconds left in the opening period.

St Louis assisted on Stamkos’ third-period goal and scored his second in the third, when two more goals from Krejci proved insufficient for the Bruins.

Boston coach Claude Julien said special teams were the difference.

“They scored three goals on the power play, and it took us a long time to get our first,” he said. “That certainly dictated the game.”

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