The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped a 4-3 decision to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday — the same night both the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs fell in regulation in their respective games.
For the Lightning, who trail the Senators and Maple Leafs in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff spot, it was a lost chance to make up ground. The Lightning are six points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the final wild card position, with the Maple Leafs trailing the Flyers by just a point. The Lightning host the Senators at Amalie Arena on Thursday.
The Bruins got off to a slow start in the first period and the Lightning outplayed them through twenty minutes, but after Alex Killorn scored to make it 1-0 at the 8:41 mark of the middle frame, the Bruins took over the game. They outshot the Lightning 16-4 in the period, scoring a pair of goals in the last two minutes — including one with just nine-tenths of a second left on the clock.
After the Lightning cut the lead to one on Alex Killorn’s second goal of the night at 4:27 of the third period, the Bruins tallied two more to take a commanding 4-2 lead with just 7:37 to play. Brayden Point made it a one-goal game with 2:04 remaining in regulation but the Lightning couldn’t complete the comeback, falling at home to open a crucial four-game home stand.
Let’s take a closer look at how things played out on Tuesday:
The game started off slowly in the opening minutes before the pace picked up quickly for both teams. The Lightning were not able to register their first shot on goal until the 3:40 mark, but went on to outshoot the Bruins by an 8-4 count through twenty minutes — playing a physical style and forechecking the Bruins hard in their own end.
The Lightning brought it to the Bruins physically, including a big hit by Cedric Paquette on Patrice Bergeron in the Bruins’ defensive zone early in the contest. At 10:14 of the first, Alex Killorn and Jimmy Hayes dropped the gloves at center ice and fought each other to a draw before each receiving five-minute majors.
While the game remained scoreless after twenty minutes of play, it was not without chances for both clubs. Patrice Bergeron held the puck in the offensive zone and fed it across the slot to Torey Krug, who fired a shot on goal that was stopped by a sliding Bishop for a big save near the eight-minute mark of the period.
The Lightning had their best chance of the period when Jason Garrison took a slap shot from the point and the puck snuck under Tuukka Rask’s arm and dribbled towards the goal line before being swiped away at the last second by Colin Miller, with millimeters to spare.
The Lightning struck first when Killorn received a pass from Victor Hedman at just above the left circle and fired a low slap shot through two Bruins players that beat Rask for his 14th of the year. Tyler Johnson also added an assist on the goal.
Killorn’s marker was an opportunity for the Lightning to build upon the momentum of a strong first period, but instead, the game went the other way and the Bruins took over. They carried the play, outshooting the Lightning 16-4, resulting in two goals before the end of the period.
With under three minutes left in the period, Anton Stralman had just pivoted to skate backward at center ice when Brad Marchand turned direction and took out Stralman’s left leg from behind, sending the Swedish blueliner to the ice and no penalty was called. Marchand was just days removed from being fined $10,000 for a somewhat similar incident on Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
The Bruins’ momentum worked in their favor, as they evened the score when Bergeron got a stick on Adam McQuaid’s shot that sent it through Bishop’s five hole and into the net with 1:52 left to play.
With time about to expire in the middle period, the Bruins took the lead on a goal by David Krejci with under a second remaining to play. It was the sort of tally that made it just a one-goal game on the score board, but must have felt like two for the Lightning given the timing of it.
The Lightning knotted the game at two goals per side when Killorn tallied his second goal of the night, again assisted by Hedman and Johnson, at the 4:46 mark of the final period. It sent the crowd at Amalie Arena into a frenzy, but that feeling was short-lived for the home crowd.
The Bruins regained the lead minutes later, when Zdeno Chara rang a one-timer off the post and into the net at 7:51.
When Cedric Paquette was called for high sticking at 12:09, Frank Vatrano scored the game’s only power play goal 14 seconds later when he beat Bishop on the short side to make it a two-goal game.
The Lightning pulled Bishop and cut the lead to one again when Point redirected the puck past Rask with just 2:03 to play. The Lightning maintained pressure in the offensive zone for the bulk of the remaining time, but were unable to beat Rask to tie the game and the Bruins emerged with two big points in the contest.
TBL — Alex Killorn (14) assisted by Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson
BOS — Patrice Bergeron (12) assisted by Adam McQuaid and Brad Marchand
BOS — David Krejci (12) assisted by Brad Marchand and Kevan Miller
TBL — Alex Killorn (15) assisted by Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson
BOS — Zdeno Chara (4) assisted by Colin Miller and Matt Beleskey
BOS — Frank Vatrano (6) assisted by David Krejci and Colin Miller (PP)
TBL — Brayden Point (4) assisted by Victor Hedman and Jake Dotchin
THW Three Stars
First: Zdeno Chara (one goal)
Second: Alex Killorn (two goals)
Third: Patrice Bergeron (one goal)
What’s Up Next
Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals
Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017
Verizon Center – 8:00 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – NBCSN, SNE, SNO, TVAS
Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017
Amalie Arena – 7:30 P.M. EST
Broadcast Channels – SUN, RDS2, TSN5