The Lightning certainly seem to have the whole "three full periods (plus) of effort" thing figured out, following up Thursday's competitive-but-ultimately-unsatisfying loss to Buffalo by giving the division leading Boston Bruins all they could handle, succumbing only after a shootout that went seven rounds.
"Well, at least we got a point out of this one. I thought we played pretty well. We had good structure. I thought, all in all, we gamed one out." - Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.
In a wildly entertaining scoreless first period (which is possible when both teams dial up the intensity), the Lightning held the Bruins without a single shot on goal until there were just over six minutes remaining.
27 seconds into an explosive second period, the Bolts got on the board first when Ondrej Palat, following Tyler Johnson's charge, scored shorthanded on a great individual, relentless effort to beat Boston's Tuukka Rask. Johnson and Eric Brewer were credited with assists on the play.
They doubled up to 2-0 at 4:13 on a goal by Mark Barberio, assisted by Tom Pyatt and Ryan Callahan. The play was reviewed for a possible kick by Nate Thompson but was correctly upheld.
Multi-goal leads have been oddly problematic of late for Tampa Bay, having blown margins of at least two goals in three of their last four losses as well as coming close to letting a three goal lead slip away in their last win. Such was the case again tonight.
The Bruins got on the board at 6:58 Daniel Paille scored on assists from Gregory Campbell and Johnny Boychuk.
They tied it less than two minutes later when Carl Soderberg scored on a breakaway at 8:29, getting help from Chris Kelly.
Just over a minute after that, the Lightning regained the lead when Valtteri Filppula scored at 9:31. Palat provided an assist.
The score was 3-2 Tampa Bay after two.
Tampa Bay fans, not accustomed to being the beneficiary of replays were shocked and relieved when the second one of the night went their way at 6:05 Actually, that isn't entirely the case; following a scrum in front of Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop and the referee's whistle blew before the puck wound up sliding into the net, which is not a review-able play. At any rate, the lead was safe for the moment and home fans sighed in relief.
Unfortunately, just over two minutes later Boychuk unleashed a snap shot from just inside the blue line at that beat Bishop and tied the game at three. Soderberg and Loui Eriksson offered assistance.
"I was looking in the corner. I had no idea the puck was at the point. I thought the puck was in the corner." - Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop
The third period saw Tampa Bay's turn to suffer a shooting drought and they didn't register their first shot-on-goal until the 10:04 mark.
Regulation and the ensuing overtime period ended with the teams tied at three apiece. Tampa Bay led off in the shootout but Boston's Reilly Smith, the seventh shooter, was the only one to solve either goaltender, giving Boston the 4-3 win.
"We are building. I feel that our game is getting better and better. This is the best we have played since the break and we played a pretty good team and did pretty well." - Cooper
The homestand continues Monday when the Lightning will attempt to snap the losing streak against the Phoenix Coyotes.
- The Lightning:finish the regular season series against Boston with an 0-3-1 mark, which includes getting shut out twice..
- The Lightning were outscored by the Bruins 15-4 this season, with three of the four goals coming tonight..
- The Lightning haven't allowed a power play goal in five straight games.
- Ryan Callahan's assist on Barberio's goal in the second period is his first point as a member of the Lightning.
- The Lightning entered tonight's game with more home games remaining this season than anybody else in the NHL.
- The Lightning honored Dr. Elias Hasbun as the 29th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game. Dr. Hasbun, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to PARC. Dr. Hasbun's son was diagnosed with autism at a very young age and because of that fact, thousands of lives have been greatly affected. Beginning 35 years ago, Dr. Hasbun has made it his mission to help those with developmental disabilities and their families. He volunteers his medical care expertise to persons with disabilities and also gives people and family hope. He has the patience and understanding, recognizing his patient's needs on a case-to-case basis. After retiring from the medical field, Dr. Hasbun led a purposeful retirement as PARC's volunteer medical director. He has also joined forces with the Autism Society to use his knowledge to educate medical and dental providers to shape policies for treating those with disabilities.