Lightning eliminate Bruins with 3-1 win in Game 5
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Lightning, with a primary assist from a team that handled them during the regular season, are back in the Eastern Conference final for the third time in four years.
Thank you, Boston Bruins.
”I guess I can say it now. Boston set the bar for us, and we played them three times late in the year,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said after his team’s 3-1 victory over the Bruins ended their second-round playoff series in five games.
”The first two times we played them, they literally manhandled us. … and we knew if we were going to go anywhere when we made the playoffs, or if we made the playoffs, that we had to be as good as Boston,” Cooper added.
”We beat them 4-0 (in the last meeting). I think that gave us a little hit of confidence. I guess a lot of confidence. … and, ultimately we carried that through into this playoff round.”
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 27 shots – 14 in the final period – for the Lightning, who rebounded from losing the series opener at home to eliminate the Bruins in five games.
Boston won three of the four games between the teams during the regular season, finishing one point behind Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division title and the No. 1 seed in the East.
The Bruins outlasted Toronto in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs. They scored six goals to beat the Lightning in Game 1, but had difficulty scoring after that.
Over the last three games, Boston failed to score an even-strength goal.
”You’ve got to give them credit. We’re a team that scored all year long with different players…