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Bolts strike up win to force deciding game in Boston

by | CBSSports.com
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Falling toward the net, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis did all that he could to avoid Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas so not to draw an interference penalty.

He missed Thomas a moment before teammate Steven Stamkos scored the Lightning's third power-play goal in an erratic 5-4 victory in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final on Wednesday night.

It's poise like that why we'll have a Game 7 at TD Garden on Friday.

Bruins-Lightning: Game 6
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"I think that's what you play for," said St. Louis, who had two goals and an assist. "Whether it's as a kid in the driveway and pretending to be a Game 7. Those are the games you watch as a kid. Those are the games that gets your fire going and those are the ones you want to play in. The do-or-die games."

The two players left from the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup title team that skated in Game 6 here in a wild St. Pete Times Forum -- St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier -- were large reasons why this series didn't end Wednesday.

"We feel confident," said Lecavalier, who had two assists. "We just have to play the same way we did tonight. We just have to skate. We have speed on this team. We just need to keep it going. We will be ready to go. It'll be a great game."

Game 6 certainly wasn't lacking in drama.

The Lightning's lead, secured 36 seconds into the game on Lightning forward Teddy Purcell's first of two goals on the night, didn't last the period. Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson, shaky early after he sat out Game 5 in favor of Mike Smith, allowed Milan Lucic and David Krejci to score as Boston led 2-1 at the first intermission.

For a goalie who entered with a flawless record in his six career elimination games, Roloson was more steady the rest of the way -- even if he kicked the puck into his own net as Krejci logged one of the quietest hat tricks you'll see in the playoffs. Roloson allowed the four goals on 20 shots, hardly enviable numbers, although he joined Chico Resch as the only goalies to go 7-0 in elimination games.

"We won," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "That's all. That's what we're asking. We're asking for a chance to win and that's what we got tonight."

Krejci made it a one-goal game -- twice, actually -- in the third period, but the equalizer never came despite numerous scrambles in front of the Bolts' net.

"We had so many chances," said Krejci, who exited the game tied with St. Louis for the most goals in the playoffs (10). "They did a good job blocking the shots. I almost had another. We were real close. Too bad we didn't tie it. It's not over. We aren't going to quit. We want this real bad."

This is the second Game 7 for both teams. The Bruins were taken the distance by the Montreal Canadiens after they dropped Game 6 in the first round. Tampa was down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the opening round before they advanced in seven.

"That's been our motto all year: never give up," said Purcell, who had two goals. "This was the same situation we had against Pittsburgh. We took it one game at a time and came out of that series. I think we can build off that experience."

Thomas, however, said he won't be relying on history much.

"It's a little consolation," Thomas said of playing in a Game 7 already in the playoffs. "But you have to go out and do it. It doesn't just happen. They don't just give it you. This was more proof. It's a 7-game series. If it was a best-of-5, we have already won."

The Lightning will fight for their first trip back to the Finals since they became the last team to win the Cup before the lockout. The Bruins last went to the Finals in 1990, the league consisted of 21 teams --- and the two conference finals squads (San Jose and Tampa Bay) didn't exist.

Boston coach Claude Julien reminded his players why they'll get a home game to decide which team will face the Vancouver Canucks.

"You play 82 games, and a lot of times people say, 'What do you play those 82 games for?,'" Julien said. "And I think that's one of the key things that if you can get home ice advantage this time of year, you need to take advantage of it. And we did against Montreal and now we need to do the same thing against Tampa."

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