TAMPA — It appears possible the Lightning will have to stave off elimination tonight in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final without the playoffs' leading goal scorer entering Tuesday, LW Sean Bergenheim.
Bergenheim didn't play the final two periods of Monday's 3-1 Game 5 loss to the Bruins after sustaining an undisclosed injury, which is believed to be lower body. Coach Guy Boucher said Tuesday that he wasn't sure whether Bergenheim would be ready tonight but that if the game had been Tuesday, Bergenheim definitely would not have been on the ice.
"We'll see (today)," Boucher said. "I'll go to church, I think."
No Bergenheim would be a big loss to the Lightning. Bergenheim, who has nine goals, has been one of its better players and a key part of a third line with C Dominic Moore and RW Steve Downie. Boucher said he tried to find chemistry on that line without Bergenheim in Game 5, in which the wing logged 4 minutes, 19 seconds, and hadn't decided who would replace him.
"Bergie has been great," Moore said. "And again, though … all the pieces fit together (on our team), and the way we've played all season long, it's been everyone on the same page, and whether the lines change, we all play the same way."
Boston knows it could get a break if Bergenheim is out.
"He's had a lot of goals in this postseason, and he's playing well for them," Bruins D Johnny Boychuk said. "If he's out, it'd be good for us, because he's been producing really well and playing really well. But if he's in, we've got to make sure to take care of him."
POWER OUTAGE: The Lightning's power play, which had been strong in the first two playoff rounds, has struggled against the Bruins, going 2-for-18, including 0-for-4 (with four shots) in Game 5.
RW Marty St. Louis said the power play was disappointing Monday. What needs to change?
"I just think a little more poise," St. Louis said. "Poise and shots to the net. But I think they come hand in hand. If we get a little poise, we're going to open some more shots. And we have to take those shots. Once we have the shots, we have to take them. We can't look for that other play."
The Bruins' penalty kill has something to do with the Lightning's problems, as does G Tim Thomas.
"That's something we've managed to do that was important to us," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Because had we not done that, the series might be in a different place right now."
JOHNNY BE GOOD: Boychuk said he was fine and would play tonight after hitting his head into the boards Monday on a hit by Downie, who was called for boarding.
Boychuk said he didn't see Downie coming and was a little foggy afterward. He didn't say whether he thought the hit deserved league discipline. The league was not looking into supplementary discipline, Canada's TSN TV network reported Tuesday.
"I saw the hit. If it's suspendable, the league will do it," Boychuk said. "But I'm feeling fine, and that's the main thing."
IN FRONT: The Bruins used 6-foot-9, 255-pound D Zdeno Chara in front of the net on the power play Monday and could do so again. "Try to move a guy that's as strong as him and as big as him," Boychuk said. "Not too many guys can do that."
FLASHBACK: Julien was asked how much of a lift great goaltending performances such as Thomas' on Monday could give a team, and he brought up former Lightning G Nikolai Khabibulin in the 2004 Stanley Cup run.
"The year Tampa Bay won it, had it not been for Khabibulin, I'm not sure they would have had a Stanley Cup, because he stood on his head in a lot of those games," Julien said. "They were a good team, but Khabibulin was a great goaltender for them. … When you've got a hot goaltender, it makes you that much better."