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Bolts even series with Boston in another OT thriller

After The Boston Bruins carried a strong effort by goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to even the series on Tuesday night. With Ryan McDonagh unable to play due to injury, Jon Cooper decided on an 11 forward, 7 defensemen lineup. This gave Luke Schenn and Braydon Coburn their first action since play resumed in late July.

Boston strikes first

Seeing his first live game action since March, Braydon Coburn wasted no time getting back into the swing of things. On the first shift of the game, Coburn put Halak to the test right away. It appeared that the Lightning wanted to set the tone early as they continued applying pressure in the Boston zone. However, it was the Bruins who opened the scoring in game 2 just as they did in game 1. An unfortunate broken stick on a dump attempt by Zach Bogosian led to a 2 on 1 opportunity into the Lightning zone.

Nick Ritchie skated in opposite Anders Bjork and connected on a pass that just got by the stick of a diving Coburn. Bjork put the shot on net and it appeared as though Vasilevskiy had it covered. There was no whistle to halt play and Ritchie and Charlie Coyle continued taking shots at Vasilevskiy’s pads. Ultimately, the puck crossed the goal line and Ritchie was credited with the goal.

Lightning knot things up at 1…twice

A few minutes later, Barclay Goodrow appeared to have tied the game for Tampa Bay. The goal was challenged by the Bruins for offside. During the review, it appeared that Brayden Point had not gotten back to the blue line before Goodrow entered the zone. The goal was overturned, and the lead remained with Boston for the time being.

It didn’t take long for the Lightning to find the back of the net again. And this time, it counted. Zach Bogosian entered the offensive zone and, while splitting 2 Boston players and falling to his knees, turned a pass to Blake Coleman skating into his left. A diving shot attempt by Coleman found its way past Halak at 12:42 and the game was tied at 1 after 20 minutes.

Boston, Tampa Bay trade goals in the second period

The Lightning have had their share of untimely penalties so far in these playoffs. As Alex Killorn noted after game 1, it has been difficult to determine the “limits” since play restarted. At times it seems as though the referees are going to let the guys play. And at other times, there have been some questionable “playoff” penalties. Nonetheless, Tampa Bay found themselves in the box twice on Tuesday night due to high sticking penalties. First to Killorn. And then Ondrej Palat. With Palat in the box and Boston on the power play, David Pastrnak fired a left point shot toward the far side of the net. Awaiting this shot all by himself to tip it past Vasilevskiy was Brad Marchand, who gave Boston a 2-1 lead at 14:33 of the period.

Boston did not have long to celebrate, however. Just 55 seconds later, Nikita Kucherov knotted things up again. After some nifty stick handling and maneuvering by Brayden Point, Kevin Shattenkirk fired a shot from the right cricle. Kucherov was waiting in front of Halak to redirect the puck into the net.

The story of the second period, though, was the officiating late in the period. After a blatant slash on Boston’s Brandon Carlo that knocked the stick out of Barclay Goodrow’s hands went uncalled, Victor Hedman was called for a questionable hold merely seconds later. But a strong penalty kill for Tampa Bay sent them to the locker room tied at 2.

Coleman, Marchand strike again

It took just over half of the third period for the Lightning to take their first lead of the series. At 10:40 of the period, Victor Hedman fed a streaking Blake Coleman who had the Bruins defenders beaten at the blue line. Coleman’s shot ping ponged off of Halak’s pads and trickled through to give the Bolts a 3-2 lead.

With all the momentum on their side, Tampa Bay only had about 4 minutes to hold on. But a good Bruins shift in the Lightning zone swung thins back in their favor. Tyler Johnson lost a puck battle on a clearing attempt to Pastrnak. Pastrnak then started a tic-tac-toe sequence by dishing the puck over to Sean Kuraly who found Marchand in his familiar spot…all alone to the right of the net. Marchand converted and tied the game at 3, where it remained until the final horn of regulation.

A new OT hero

For the third time in 7 playoff games, the Lightning found themselves in overtime again. The infamous 5 overtime event in game 1 of round 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets ended mercifully with a Brayden Point goal, as did the single overtime affair in the series clinching game 5. But in this game, a new hero came through.

Tampa Bay controlled overtime from the puck drop, limiting Boston to minimal zone time and keeping the shots going toward Halak. After a wrap around attempt by Pat Maroon was stopped by Halak, the rebound slid over to Palat. With an open side of the net in front of him, Palat buried the game winning goal, tying the series.

Quick turnaround

As part of the unique circumstances of this years playoffs, there are back to back games scheduled. The Lightning and Bruins will go again Wednesday night in game 3. Puck drop scheduled for 8:00pm.

3 Stars of the game

  1. Ondrej Palat – The overtime winner and a guy who works hard often times for very little on the score sheet
  2. Blake Coleman – 2 goals
  3. Brad Marchand – 2 goals


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