Well I think Guy Boucher's face does a pretty good job of summarizing my viewing experience of last night's Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 win: eyes bugging, heart pounding, brain on the verge of an aneurysm ... in fact, I don't think I took a single breath during the final two minutes of the game. I cannot think of a single scenario in which that game could have been made more stressful than it was. Game 5 easily stole 6-8 months off the end of my life.
It all started with Simon Gagne's goal at 1:09 of the first. My blood boiled. Must this guy make a career out of completely f*cking the Bs? Seriously. As if his 4 goals in last year's semifinals weren't enough to wish for his painful demise (one as painful as watching the Bruins participate in the most epic collapse in NHL postseason play) now this guy has to return as the ghost of our dream-destroyed past and put 3 goals past Thomas in this year's finals? And the worst part was there seemed to more hate for this guy manifesting on my couch than what was being mustered from the entire Bruins bench. The next 19 minutes of hockey were about as productive as a Boston power play. Lifeless.
Fortunately, the Bs found their offense somewhere in the locker room during the first intermission and came into the 2nd ready to play. Most notably was some action from their first line as Nathan Horton scored the game-tying goal, with the assist from Lucic and Krejci. About ten minutes later Patrice Bergeron threaded a beautiful pass to Brad Marchand who was in front of The Lightning's net. He beat TB's Mike Smith for the game-winning goal.
The third period showed us the best and worst plays of the game, both courtesy of Tampa Bay's Steve Downie. Off a rebound, Downie had a shot at an open left side of the Bruin's net - and the opportunity to tie-things up with half a period left in the game. Showing us why he is a Vezina Trophy Finalist, Thomas dove and with an incredible stick-save robbed Downie of the goal. A minute later Downie laid a vicious hit on Johnny Boychuk as he attempted to clear the puck from behind the net. Boychuk, who hit his head against the glass, left the game but later returned. Downie, who has a reputation for being a douche (after all, he is a former Flyer), will not be fined by the league.
The nail in the coffin came with 20 seconds left to play when Rich Peverley scored on an empty net, making the final score 3-1 and putting the Bruins one game out of the Stanley Cup Finals.
And exhale. At least until Wednesday.