Kukla's Korner

Stars Shine for Tampa, Forcing Game 7 Friday Night

The stars were out for the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final and though this one was yet another example in a seemingly endless string of unpredictable tilts in this series, in the end, it was the hometown Bolts prevailing to force a Game 7 in Boston Friday night.

It wasn’t exactly a reach to say that at least one of the Lightning’s three marquee names would come through in such a pivotal affair but you just had to know that even a little of that would take the Bolts a long way tonight – a clutch goal at the right moment from one of the team’s best.

Instead, the Lightning got a lot of it from Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, to the tune of three goals and five assists for eight points, to be exact. And, ultimately, they needed it all in another wild affair as the Bruins, led by David Krejci’s hat trick performance, twice cut Tampa Bay two-goal leads in half in the third period before the final buzzer sounded on the Lightning’s 5-4 win.

Beyond Tampa Bay’s superstar trio, Teddy Purcell’s second two-goal showing of the series aided the Lightning cause and Steve Downie posted two assists as part of an outstanding, all-around effort on his part.

But it was the big three in the end – Vinny, Marty and Stammer – that put the Bolts over the hump tonight and into an opportunity to win one game for a chance to play for the Stanley Cup.

That should come as no surprise at all.

Now they’ll march on to Game 7, looking to put the finishing touches on the wild ride that has been this series – and assured of being part of the finishing touches of the season for one team.

If the Lightning are to be sure that they aren’t the ones heading home for good when all is said and done on Friday, they’ll need contributions from throughout the lineup yet again – from Dwayne Roloson in goal, who had a few iffy moments this evening but did enough to earn the victory, from the defense, who had trouble exiting their own zone on multiple occasions tonight and turned the puck over all too often, from the depth forwards, like Purcell and Downie or whoever else’s turn it may be to contribute offensively in a secondary role…

But most of all, again, for the Lightning to be victorious in Game 7, they’ll need at least one of their go-to horses to will them across the finish line.

They’ve done it in the past.

They did it tonight.

And, if Tampa Bay takes this Eastern Conference Final on Friday, they will have done it again in Boston.

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

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