Bolts turn screws

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:21 PM ET


 It was time to dig down just a little deeper, to push the aching muscles a little further, to battle along the boards just a little harder.

 At different times in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final last night, both the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers did just that, producing the kind of hockey that makes Canadians proud of their sport at this time of the year.

 The Lightning started off furiously, opening a 3-0 lead, but the Flyers fought back just as furiously. Finally, with an empty-net goal, the Lightning won 4-2 to take a 3-2 series lead.

 "We started to really turn it up in the third period there," said Flyers captain Keith Primeau, whose pinpoint pass to Patrick Sharp set up his team's second goal. "We generated a lot of chances then ...

 "We were coming back and they seemed to regroup a bit, too. We were coming hard and I thought we were going to tie it up. We just fell a little short."

 It was that blitzkrieg start by Tampa that put the Flyers on their heels. The Lightning fired 18 shots at Robert Esche in the first period, a team record.

 "That's Tampa hockey, man," defenceman Dan Boyle said. "We just talked about playing our style of hockey and that's defencemen up, being aggressive and being all over them. We had to take advantage of some of their injuries on defence."

 It was just the kind of start the Lightning wanted and by the early stages of the second period, they had opened a 3-0 lead -- with all the goals coming on the power play.

 REBOUND

 Only one came in the first period -- when Ruslan Fedotenko shovelled a rebound of Boyle's point shot past Esche -- but another came 24 seconds into the second, the first of Brad Richards' two for the evening.

 It was a four-on-three situation and Richards, on the left point, fed the puck in deep to Dave Andreychuk. Then he moved in and when Andreychuk gave it back to him, he beat Esche with a beautiful high shot.

 "That play is something that we work on and we executed it well," Richards said.

 The next power play didn't require anywhere near as much time. The Lightning scored in three seconds -- off the draw and back to Richards.

 "That second goal was kind of a lucky goal off the faceoff," Richards said. "You can chalk that up to a little more luck than a good power play."

 Primeau took the faceoff and won it cleanly, but in drawing the puck back it bounced off his shin pad and went right to Richards.

 But Richards made the most of it.

 "I just shot back against the grain because the puck came to me and I knew Esche would be moving," he said.

 With that, the Lightning appeared to be on their way to a blowout. But the resolute Philadelphia team fought back with two goals in 38 seconds and came at the Lightning in waves afterward.

 THE DIFFERENCE

 "It wasn't pretty in the third," Boyle said. "We were hanging on tightly, perhaps a little too tightly."

 "The difference in the hockey game," Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock said, "was that they won the special-teams game and we couldn't finish all the point-blank chances we had."

 So now, Tampa Bay is one game away from a berth in the Stanley Cup final.

 "I think some people over there in Philly have some other ideas about it," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "It will be two teams in a great building, a great situation and I'm looking forward to it."

 "We don't want to go to a Game 7," Boyle said. "Anything can happen there. We'll throw everything at them."

 Just like they did last night.


Videos

Photos