Game 45: Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 5-3 in front of a sell-out crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Tuesday night.

The routine the last few games has featured the Lightning falling behind early, due to being called for a penalty in the first two minutes, fighting valiantly but ultimately coming up just short. And tonight, more dependable than a delivery from Dominos, Bruno Gervais found himself in the box on a high sticking call at 1:58, which allowed the Bruins to go right down and...

Wait...what now?

"It was nice to get that kill, and kill their momentum and not let them get anything from that. Luckily, we built some momentum off of that" - Steven Stamkos
"You gotta be sharp in all areas at the start. You gotta be ready to kill penalties, you gotta be ready for the power play. Just being ready in general." - Dominic Moore

If the Lightning were mouthing the words "here we go again", at least nobody heard them saying it aloud.

"If I'm asking my players to put things behind, we have to put things behind too, as leaders. And right away, we said, ' yes, we're gonna kill this one, and we're gonna fight it off and we're gonna block shots'. So we kept on talking about what we're gonna do, not what can happen against us, but what we're gonna do. And we did it and our goaltender was part of it too. So it's all about the actions. Your words become your actions and your actions become your character and your character becomes your habits. And so it's important that we take care of our words." - head coach Guy Boucher

After successfully weathering that early test, and maybe enjoying a well-earned sigh of relief, the Lightning continued the agressive and energetic attack they had from the opening puck drop. Vincent Lecavalier got the Bolts off on the right foot, scoring a nifty backhander, with his back to the goal, on assists from Matt Gilroy and Martin St. Louis at the 7:11 mark.

The score was 1-0 Lightning at the end of the first period, with the Lightning outshooting Boston 11-6.

Boston tied it at 4:28 of the second when Nathan Horton scored unassisted.

About 10 minutes passed, during which the Lightning's hard work produced a number of scoring opportunities. It finally paid off when Tom Pyatt scored on assists from Steve Downie and Gilroy at 14:11.

At 16:48, the Bruins tied it again with a goal scored on a rebound by Horton with helpers from Andrew Ference and David Krejci.

The period ended in a two-all tie, with Boston testing goalie Mathieu Garon with 11 shots, trimming the game deficit in that category to 21-17, Tampa Bay.

In the third period, Nate Thompson intercepted a pass along the side boards and got it to Dominic Moore who fed Ryan Malone to take the lead yet again at 4:58.

And, in keeping with the theme, Boston's Daniel Paille tied it yet again, this time on a shorthanded breakaway at 10:53

Bearing down as the clock ticked away the seconds, Dominic Moore beat Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas glove side and high with a heavy slapshot to put the Lightning on top again with 3:45 left to play in regulation. Downie and Malone chipped in with the helpers.

Boston pulled Thomas with 1:05 remaining. Play stopped with 26.4 seconds left and the Bruins called time out. After Lecavalier won the ensuing face-off, Stamkos sealed the deal with an empty netter with 20.2 on the clock.

The Lightning will head out west for a pair of back-to-back road games, Friday at the Dallas Stars and Saturday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Game notes:

  • The Lightning won for the first time in 2012, snapping a seven game losing streak. They haven't lost eight in a row since going 0-7-2 to finish the 2008-09 season.
  • Behold the offensive prowess of...Matt Gilroy? He now has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his last 12 games and points in consecutive games for the first time this season. His last point streak was in December of 2010 when he scored in two straight for the New York Rangers.
  • Gilroy is now second among Lightning defenders with 13 points, trailing Marc-Andre Bergeron's 24.
  • Pyatt's goal was his fifth of the season, which is three more than he's tallied in either of his previous two NHL seasons. He now has seven points on the season, which matches his career-high, set last year while with the Montreal Canadiens.
  • The Lightning recognized Bill Richards as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Boston Bruins. Richards, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will divide the money among his charities of choice, Feeding America, St. Anne’s Food Pantry and Mary & Martha House. As a result of tonight’s donation, the Lightning Community Heroes program has now reached the $1,000,000 plateau to date. Richards, a Lightning Season Ticket Member for more than 10 years, exemplifies how a retired individual can take his skills, background and passion to makes things better for those less fortunate. At 84 years old, Richards refuses to let his age slow him down when it comes to serving the community. Among the various capacities in which Richards serves is volunteering to feed the homeless, collecting clothes at various donation centers and making the most of limited resources to ensure that no individual goes without food or shelter. In the early 1990s, Richards established the Food Pantry at St. Anne’s Church in Ruskin. It wasn’t until after the first few days before Richards realized the unexpected, yet widespread epidemic of homelessness in the Bay Area. From that moment forward, Richards vowed never to leave the facility grounds until every visitor had received food, clothing, shelter or other aid. His passion for helping never ceases to appear as he always follows through until a solution is put in place.
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