Rick Bowness: We liked our start; our finish, not so much

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Tampa Bay Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness says the team had one of its best periods Saturday night in the first but that their play to close out Game 5 left something to be desired.

- Bowness, Lightning associate coach joins us after the big win here. And it seemed like you couldn't draw up a better start. When you want to get that win on home ice, get that lead late in the series, that was pretty good.

- Well, the start was how we drew it up. I agree with you. The end was not how we drew it up. But, yeah, we were very pleased the way we came out of the gate. We emphasized with the players that, OK, we've lost our two home games. They lost their two home games. What's going on?

Let's get a lot more focused with our home. Get rid of the distractions at home and just get focused on making sure we're ready to play tonight. Now we did that. We learned the lesson. That first period tonight was probably one of the best periods we've played [INAUDIBLE].

And we just made it a little too easy for them to come at us. And obviously, the last two periods, the shots on that will tell you that we spent a lot of time in our zone. The draw, the plan, was the first period. The not-plan was that last 30-40 minutes.

- Now in the third period, you've got the 2-goal lead. They don't get their first shot till 7:34, but then the onslaught from there, which you pretty much know. And in game after game now, you're seeing them pull a goalie with more than two minutes to go. You know it's coming. What would you change about how you handled that?

- We didn't protect the red line well enough. We made it too easy for them to get into our zone. When the goalie's out, and even if it's five on five, you have to make the red line hard to gain access to because they were just getting the red line, getting it in our zone, and they were coming with a ton of speed.

And when you come with a ton of speed, you're putting a lot of pressure on your defense and your low four trying to break out. So what we would like to do a lot better is to protect the red line because that's where all your problems start. If you give up the red line and you're in your zone, they're coming with a lot of pressure, a lot of desperation, because of the time on the clock and the score.

And so we've got to do a better job protecting that red line and make it harder for them to get the puck in the zone and, not only that, but to come out in the zone with a lot of speed. When you're backing up, they're able to go back and gain some speed and get it in. And now with the speed, they're able to put the pressure on us. So we've got to take the red line out of play a lot better. And we've got to slow them down a lot better.

- Even still, the team 9 and 0 and leading after two. So that tells you that you got a lot of leads going into the third. And ultimately, you're getting that job done. Congratulations.

- We are. And we need one more. And now, trust me, if we've went 11 games, that 12th game is going to be the toughest to win yet. But hopefully, we're up for the challenge.