Brad Richards set the pace and the Bolts managed to hang on in the end, as Tampa Bay survived a late third period rush by the Flyers, winning the all important game 5 by a score of 4-2. The Bolts now hold the hammer in the Eastern Division final and need only to win once more to move on to the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history.
The pride and joy of PEI, Richards scored twice on the power play to lead the Lightning on to victory. Ruslan Fedetenko scored a power play marker as well as the Bolts took a 3-0 lead over the Flyers before Philadelphia decided to battle back, closing to within one goal as the third period wound down. The Flyer comeback bid was quashed by a Tim Taylor empty netter in the final minute of play.
Nickolai Kahbibulan had a shaky few minutes, as Michal Handzus and Patrick Sharp scored within 40 seconds of each other midway through the second to breathe life into a Flyer squad that was held in check for the first half of the game. Flyer captain Keith Primeau was given special attention, limiting him to only one assist in the game Tampa used the boards well to box in the big Flyer, not giving him as much room to set up as he had been used to in games 3 and 4. Khabibulan regained his form in the final frame, holding off 15 Flyer shots turning all away.
Game six goes Thursday night in Philadelphia, the Flyers already have begun to regroup and focus in on the do or die nature of the contest. Captain Primeau advising that this group won’t go down without a fight. One thing is certain the rabid Flyer fans won’t let the Bolts come into their rink and take charge. But if the Lightning can replay the effort of game five (short of their 40 second giveaway phase) then the Flyer fans won’t be able to do much more than sit and watch.