BOSTON - The Boston Bruins know they must concentrate on every shift. They have to focus even harder right after Tampa Bay scores.
The Lightning have packed key goals into quick bursts that have sent them into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night tied 2-2.
In the opener, they beat goalie Tim Thomas three times in one minute, 25 seconds—including twice in 19 seconds—in the first period and won 5-2. In Saturday's 5-3 win, the Lightning scored three more times in a 3:58 span of the second period to wipe out a 3-0 deficit.
"When they score a goal, I think the basic thing for us is we have to have a big shift after that and kind of follow it up and get the momentum back," Boston forward Brad Marchand said Sunday. "They just seem to build a lot of emotion after they score a goal and they just feed off that."
And they don't panic when they fall behind.
"We were really positive, even though we were down 3-0," said forward Simon Gagne, who scored the tiebreaking goal at 6:54 of the third period. "We talked about the first goal, and after that everything was possible."
But that works both ways.
In the Bruins' 6-5 win that evened the series in the second game, they scored five goals in the second period. The first three came in a span of 5:42, the last three in 3:25.
"Both teams have been able to do that and build on momentum," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "So you have to make sure that when you have it, you keep it, and when you lose it you try and get it back quickly. All that is about poise and making sure you make strong plays."
Those outbursts came against goalies who were outstanding during the first two rounds.
Thomas allowed just 24 goals in 11 games—seven against Montreal and four against Philadelphia. Dwayne Roloson gave up only 23 in his 11 games—seven against Pittsburgh and four against Washington.
Both teams showed their ability to score in bunches during second-round sweeps.
In the Bruins' 5-1 win in Game 3 against Philadelphia, they scored two goals in the first 1:03 of the first period and another pair in 1:35 of the second. The Lightning needed even less time, just 24 seconds in the second period, to score the tying and winning goals in their 4-3 win in Game 3 over Washington.
"We've been pretty successful for the most part throughout the year" in keeping opponents from scoring a lot in a little time, Boston forward Mark Recchi said. "We just got away from doing what we do well and (the Lightning) played well and they came at us and they had a couple of individual efforts that were very good."
Teddy Purcell cut the Bruins' lead to 3-2 on Saturday with two goals in just 63 seconds of the second period—the first on a backhander from the slot and the next from the right circle.
Gagne's go-ahead goal followed a steal by Ryan Malone.
"Obviously, we didn't want to dig ourselves too deep of a hole" by returning to Boston trailing 3-1, Malone said. "It's now a best-of-three, and we know nothing's really been accomplished and they're going to be ready. ... We're expecting seven games."
Roloson is expected to start for the Lightning after being replaced by Mike Smith for the second time in the series with 2:02 left in the first period after the Bruins went ahead 3-0.
"It was the right decision. We came back and won," Roloson said. "It's crazy. It's playoff hockey. Things like that happen. We battled through it, and that's the biggest thing."
Thomas was coming off a 2-0 win in the third game and had held the Lightning scoreless for 93 minutes, 40 seconds before Purcell started Tampa Bay's comeback.
Boston didn't play with the same intensity once it grabbed its 3-0 lead.
"You can just see watching video (that) we were doing things that were uncharacteristic," forward Milan Lucic said. "We weren't sharp like we were the four periods prior.
"They had no quit in their game and they kept pushing and pushing."
Lucic has been a disappointment withjust two goals and four assists in the post-season after leading the Bruins with 30 goals in the regular season. His linemates, David Krejci and Nathan Horton, have underperformed against the Lightning.
"We've had some great games and we've had some not so great games," Lucic said, "but right now it's not a time to start asking questions. It just matters what we do (Monday)."
Besides, the series is tied again.
"The reality is it's 0-0 going into Boston, just like we were the first game played there," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "So there's no difference in our approach."
And the Bruins don't intend to let the latest loss darken their moods.
"We're fine," Julien said. "When you're this far into the playoffs, you certainly don't let the mental part of the game get to you."