Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos moves the puck in the Boston zone. - Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports Images
The Lightning battle but little things make a big difference as they fall 4-2 to the visiting Boston Bruins Thursday night.
Statistically, tonight's matchup was a series of "something's gotta give" battles. Among them, the Lightning came in with a 6-2-1 home record while Boston entered with a 5-1-1 mark in road games. The Bolts brought the league's top power play at 35% against the Bruins' league leading penalty kill of 96.3%. In games like this, it's the little things that make huge differences and tonight, Boston was the team that capitalized.
"I thought we worked hard and they are a good team. I had a couple of turnovers in the first two of my shifts. Spotting teams a couple of goal leads, especially a team like Boston, it's going to be an uphill battle to come back and win the game. There's no worry with our work ethic, but again, we have to find a way to score and create some momentum and that is on us. We have to be better." - Lightning forward Steven Stamkos.
Penalties weren't much of a factor, as the Lightning were only whistled for one infraction, a tripping call against Vincent Lecavalier as the clocked reached zeroes in the third. On the other end, the Lightning did get one power play in each period, scoring on none of them.
Boston led 2-1 at the first intermission.
Cory Conacher tied the game for the Lightning at 9:00 with assists from Purcell and Stamkos.
Just under four minutes later, Boston took the lead again on a goal from Marchand who was assisted by Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron, a goal that seemed to deflate the Bolts somewhat.
"It's just too bad, that third goal. We blocked the shot, it bounces right on their stick and they put it in. That was a little downer there. But I thought our players battled hard. we got our looks and we could have scored more goals but our players battled really hard." - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher
Once again, Boston carried a one goal lead into the intermission, 3-2.
Heading into the last 20 minutes, it was going to come down to one more "something's gotta give" battle, the Lightning's proficiency (28 goals so far this season) against Boston's stinginess (8 goals allowed) in third periods. Once again, Boston won that battle, holding the Bolts scoreless.
At 2:33 of the third, the Bruins ended the scoring for the night with a goal from Horton on assists from Zdeno Chara and Hamilton.
"Our players definitely competed today. On the ice level, this was probably the most intense game all year by far. That's a great team out there. They bhave depth at all positions and that's why they've only lost two games." - Boucher
The Lightning will now head out for a two-game roadtrip and will be in action again on Saturday when they travel to Raleigh-Durham to face the division leading Carolina Hurricanes.
- Stat of the night: Steven Stamkos's has scored 11 goals and 13 assists, numbers that would project a pace of 56.375 goals and 66.625 assists over an 82 game season.
- The Lightning have sold out all 10 home games this season but tonight was the first one that sold out far enough in advance for the team to schedule a watch party on the plaza outside for those who couldn't get tickets.
- Stamkos is currently on a four-game points streak (four goals, three assists)
- Cory Conacher leads all NHL rookies with 15 points.
- Teddy Purcell recorded his fifth multi-point game of the season.
- The Lightning honored Mary Lee and Rex Farrior as the 25th Lightning Community Heroes of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Lee and Farrior, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Mary Lee's House. Lee and Farrior have made it their mission to heal abused and neglected children by providing shelter and protection to those in need of a safe haven. In 2008, the pair of heroes opened Mary Lee's House, a child advocacy center that works in tandem with child system stakeholders and community partners to provide a nurturing environment. Since opening, it has served more than 9,000 children, offering them counseling and sound advice. Mary Lee's House is the only child protection and advocacy facility in Hillsborough County and is a place for children to receive medical treatment as well as counseling and legal services. Prior to Mary Lee's House opening, children in need of assistance traveled from one place to another seeking help. Now childhood victims are welcomed with a sense of normalcy with toys, games, artwork projects and other activities.