Bruins Defeat Lightning 3-1 to Move Within One Win of Stanley Cup Finals

The Boston Bruins are one win away from the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup finals after a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Brad Marchand’s goal with 4:04 left in the second period snapped a 1-1 tie last night at TD Garden in Boston.

Nathan Horton scored the Bruins’ first goal and Rich Peverley added an empty-net score with 13 seconds left as Boston took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals.

The Bruins can return to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1990 with a Game 6 victory tomorrow in Tampa, Florida. The Lightning need a win to force a decisive seventh game, which would be played May 27 in Boston.

“It’s going to take our best game to advance. When a team has its back against the wall it comes out with the best of efforts,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said at a news conference. “We can’t be tight. But this is the position you want to be in. We’ve got two games to win one.”

While Tampa Bay held a 34-20 edge in shots last night, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finished with 33 saves after allowing a goal to Simon Gagne 69 seconds into the game.

“We’re still trying to figure out the Thomas enigma,” said Lightning coach Guy Boucher, whose team won 5-3 in Game 5 after erasing a 3-0 deficit.

The Lightning trailed the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in the first round before rallying to win the series in seven games.

The Eastern Conference winner advances to face the Vancouver Canucks or San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup finals. The Canucks hold a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals with Game 5 scheduled for tonight in Vancouver.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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