Sat May 21 06:19pm EDT
Moments after the Tampa Lightning saluted the St. Pete Times Forum crowd in celebration of their series-evening 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins, Simon Gagne(notes) told NBC's Joe Micheletti "we believed it" in response to what sparked their comeback.
Taking on the task of having to claw back into the game after a three-goal first period from the Bruins, Gagne helped make Tampa's belief become a reality by scoring a goal and assisting on two others during their five-goal rally.
It was 6:54 into the third period that Gagne broke the 3-3 tie, making what looked like a sure victory for Boston early on into a series knotted up at two games apiece.
The Bruins looked scattered and out of synch during Tampa's comeback and Tomas Kaberle(notes) contributed to that by continuing his postseason struggles. Kaberle was unable to contain the puck behind the Boston net leading to Sean Bergenheim's(notes) goal to tie the game and had he played the shot when Gagne was in tight on the winning goal, it would have never made it through to Tim Thomas(notes).
Thomas had an easy go of it in Game 3 and the Lightning did their best to cause havoc in front of him and not let Boston skate out of Tampa with a 3-1 series lead.
"We're expecting seven games, and last game when their goalie says he has an easy game, that's our job to make sure we get in there, take his eyes away, and make it hard on him," said Ryan Malone(notes). "I thought tonight we did a lot better job of getting bodies in front of him and whacking away at those pucks around his feet."
When Teddy Purcell's(notes) second goal cut the Boston lead to one, it raised a question among many: should Claude Julien have used his timeout to calm things down at that point? The arena was rocking now that the Lightning showed signs of life and the momentum shift was in full-swing. Three minutes after Julien passed on that decision, Bergenheim tied the game.
After being in control during Game 3, the Bruins quickly lost their grip as Tampa started forcing the play, which in turn led to Boston mistakes.
Now as the series shifts back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday, the pressure is on the Bruins to find what worked for them in Game 3 and improve on their decision-making. The Lightning have renewed life in this series and in what's now a best-of-three, it's getting late to waste momentum.