In one of the best games we've seen so far this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 3-1 at home, scoring their fourth consecutive win. With this win, the Lightning are ranked fourth in the Eastern conference, with a record of 12-7-2.
Tonight was a dose of the team that we want to see--a team with heroes on every line, and a team with a committed effort from start to finish.
The first period began slow, judging by the numbers, but in reality was an even, physical 20 minutes. The period finished scoreless as anticipated with Boston's Tuukka Rask in net. Rask came out strong to block eleven Lightning attempts on goal. Mike Smith also started well, saving seven.
But the effort surged in the second, as the Bolts came out with five shots on goal in the first three minutes, minutes that proved to foreshadow the rest of the period.
(More after the jump)
At 3:26, the effort paid off, with Dana Tyrell's shot from the left circle, filling the hole across Rask's right shoulder and opening the scoring with his second goal of the season, 1-0.
Head Coach Guy Boucher not only for his goal, but for his fearless play against Bruin's Zdeno Chara, who measures a literal eight inches above Tyrell.
"That's Dana. That's why we had to keep him. I'll be honest, he wasn't on my list to stay. You watch our first practice and you figure, ‘ok, it's just practice, he's looking good,' but then all of a sudden, you watch the first exhibition game and it's like ‘ok, it's just an exhibition game,' and you try other guys. Then you come back with him and he's still doing it. Then it's the end of exhibition games and he's still doing it. He deserves it and I'm not surprised."
Steven Stamkos notched a goal at 5:15 to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead against Boston, assisted by Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie for his 20th goal of the season. As usual, Stammers was shy to highlight his early start to the season's goal scoring.
"It's nice, but we just want to keep going. I just want to chip in offensively whenever I can to help this team win games, and however many goals you get, those don't matter as long as you're helping the team win."
Coming into the third with the lead, the Lightning loosened up and let Boston control more of the third period, which in the end resulted in a goal from Boston's Michael Ryder, as he raced up the right side to beat Smith and notch one in for Boston, which would finish at the game at 3-1.
Chara commented on the course of the game:
"To win a hockey game you have to play 60 minutes and that's something that we didn't do. Basically for the first 40 minutes Tampa was dominating the game and they deserved to win. We were just too slow to get to the pucks. We were losing battles. It's too late when you turn the engines on in the last 20 minutes. That's not good enough."
In other notes, tonight's game was low in penalties, with only five power plays through the entire game, three to Boston and two to Tampa.
Also, with 20 goals in 21 games, Steven Stamkos is now holds the title of the fastest player in Lightning franchise history to reach 20 goals. The previous record was help by Chris Kontos, who scored 20 goals in 27 games.
Up next for the Lightning is Wednesday's game against the New York Rangers, so as always, drop in at the game thread to voice your thoughts throughout the game.
Stanley Cup of Chowder [SB Nation]