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BRUINS TAKE 3-2 LEAD
Tue, 24 May 2011 06:38 PM EDT

On Monday night, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher rolled the goalie roulette, but it was the rest of his players who got big in a decisive postseason match. Even though mentioning openly that Dwayne Roloson would once again be his man under the pipes after the goalie started in all 15 Lightning playoff games this spring, Boucher went to Mike Smith, who made his first Stanley Cup playoffs start. Odds.

Smith wasn’t to blame for the Bolt’s 3-1 defeat to the Boston Bruins, but the substitution did not deliver the win Tampa Bay needed and, in the end, likely ought to have.

In another bizarre encounter of a series defined by odd games, the Bruins rallied from an early 1-0 deficit and got clutch performances from their best players, regardless of being outshot to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

Boston’s goalie Tim Thomas did a miraculous job, turning aside 33 of 34 shots thrown at him. He made mouth-opening saves on Steve Downie twice and Blair Jones to lead the Bruins to within one victory of their first Stanley Cup finals berth in more than two decades. Scores.

Patrice Bergeron, the team’s best player this playoffs, made a sparkling cross-ice pass to Brad Marchand for the game winner. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was a monster, jumping repeatedly into the play and picking up an assist on the winning goal in the second period.

Nathan Horton and linemates Milan Lucic and David Krejci, the focus of criticism after Saturday’s loss in Game 4, came back with a stronger outing and were in charge for the tying goal early in the second period.

In the end, though, it won’t really matter who is between the pipes for the Lightning unless their best players seize the moment, something they didn’t do in Game 5. Las Vegas odds.

For the best NHL bets go to www.scoresandodds.com


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