Thanking their stars for player like Purcell
When Lightning coach Guy Boucher was asked prior to Game 6 against the Bruins about getting more from his Big Three, he took issue with the terminology. Boucher feels his team is far more than Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos.
One clear example came Wednesday night when Teddy Purcell scored a pair of goals, Tampa Bay’s first and third, on the way to a 5-4 victory that forced tonight’s Game 7.
Purcell’s first goal, 36 seconds into the game, set the tone. At the instruction of Lecavalier, Purcell shifted to the top of the right circle when Bruins’ David Krejci, a righthanded shot, was tossed out of the faceoff.
“It wasn’t the first time he got kicked off,’’ said Lecavalier. “[Chris Kelly] coming in as a lefty, I knew if I’d win it, it would go between my legs, so I just gave [Purcell] a little wink and I told him to move over and I got lucky and it ended up going around [Kelly’s] stick [to Purcell], so we’re definitely going to take that, especially the first shift of the game.’’
Purcell, 25, who is in his first NHL postseason, was held off the scoresheet in his first three games but has 17 points, including six goals, in his last 14 games. He has four goals in the last three games.
Boucher said Purcell didn’t initially understand the intensity needed during the second season, but he gets it now.
“I think Teddy is certainly one of those guys that’s learned a lot this year,’’ said Boucher. “We always knew he had the skill and always believed that he was a really good player.
“And I think he didn’t know how good he was. So I think when he figured that out, he started to control the puck a lot better.’’
In games in which Purcell scored a goal, Tampa Bay went 8-3-3 in the regular season. In the postseason, that record is 4-0.
Pretty special The Lightning had the better of the special teams by far in Game 6. They scored three goals on four power-play opportunities, and were 4 for 5 on the penalty kill.
After going scoreless on nine man-advantage chances in Games 3, 4, and 5, St. Louis said, it was important to get the power play on track.
“Our last couple of games, we just haven’t been there,’’ he said. “Not many scoring chances.
“Sometimes it’s not about scoring but it’s about gaining momentum. Our second unit has done that the last few games. It’s kept us in some games momentum-wise.
“And the last couple of games, I feel we squeezed our sticks a little bit. Not enough poise.
“I think [in Game 6], we just let go. We said, ‘Just let’s go play, nothing to lose here, our backs are against the wall.’ And we got rewarded by putting the puck on net.’’
Chart topper St. Louis reached a couple of milestones in Game 6. His winning goal (No. 8) represented the most in franchise playoff history. And he now has 10 playoff power-play goals, also tops in franchise history. Both records were previously owned by Brad Richards . . . Boucher confirmed that Dwayne Roloson will be in net tonight.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.