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Tampa Bay Lightning beats Boston Bruins 5-3 in Game 4 of East final, series even at 2

TAMPA — Lightning coach Guy Boucher wanted no credit for what the Lightning did Saturday.

"The players," he said, "did everything."

But after Tampa Bay's stunning 5-3 victory over the Bruins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, players said Boucher's talk between the first and second periods was a turning point.

Or should we say the calming point.

The Lightning was down 3-0, each goal scored after a sloppy turnover. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson had been pulled for the second time in three games, and the sellout crowd of 21,216 at the St. Pete Times Forum sensed doom.

That sense was exactly what the coach did not want to project, so he reminded the players of the resiliency they have shown. He reinforced that there was no reason to panic.

"It was a great speech," wing Simon Gagne said. "He was real calm. He said when you believe, anything is possible."

The result was startling. Tampa Bay scored five unanswered goals — three in 3 minutes, 58 seconds of the second period — to tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Teddy Purcell started the onslaught with two goals in 1:03 of the second to set a Tampa Bay playoff record for the fastest two goals by one player. Sean Bergenheim's playoff-best ninth goal after he stole the puck from Tomas Kaberle tied the score at 3 with 9:07 left in the second.

Gagne, who had a goal and three points and was plus-4, got the winner 6:54 into the third. Marty St. Louis had an empty-netter, and goalie Mike Smith stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Bruins fell for the first time in seven games in the playoffs in which they led after the first.

"It's now a best-of-three," wing Ryan Malone said. "We know nothing has really been accomplished. It's going to be a battle here to the end."

You expected a battle from the start, considering Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said after his 31-save Game 3 shutout that he felt comfortable in net.

"We didn't like what he said, that it was easy to play against us," Gagne said.

"A lot of guys," Boucher said, "were fired up for this game."

But first-period giveaways by defensemen Victor Hedman and Marc-Andre Bergeron and center Steven Stamkos led to two goals by Patrice Bergeron (one shorthanded), another by Michael Ryder and a 3-0 Boston lead.

Roloson looked bad on two of the goals and was pulled with 2:02 left in the period after allowing three goals on nine shots.

But Boucher said he generally liked the way Tampa Bay was playing — it outshot Boston 10-9 — which is why he said he decided his talk between periods "was not about the whip."

"We had legs," he said. "We were flying. Why get down when you've got the ammunition to make it happen?"

"He made us feel like we would find a way," Bergeron said. "He said we weren't going to fold and give them the game. He made sure the message was clear."

Malone sent a message when he decked Boston 6-foot-9 defenseman Zdeno Chara, causing a turnover that led to Purcell's first goal. Malone, with five shots, three hits and two takeaways, sparked Gagne's winner with a neutral-zone takeaway.

"We got outworked," Thomas said. "They took over. They outplayed us. They started getting scoring chances, and we stopped getting scoring chances."

After Boucher's speech.

"I don't want any credit for what the players do on the ice," the coach said. "Everybody knows we've been resilient this year. Whether it comes from me, anybody on our staff or our leaders, they're the ones that do it."

Tampa Bay Lightning beats Boston Bruins 5-3 in Game 4 of East final, series even at 2 05/21/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 23, 2011 6:25pm]
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