The Tampa Bay Lightning fell to the Boston Bruins, 3-1, in front of a sold out crowd at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Saturday night.
This was the Lightning's fourth straight loss, the first such losing skid since the 2013-14 season. In those four games, one of which was lost in overtime, the Bolts have managed just two goals. That is simply not good enough to score against a team like the Boston Bruins, who came into this matchup scoring an average of four goals per game, especially since the Bruins were on the second half of playing on back-to-back nights.
The Bolts opened the scoring at 7:51 of the first period, a power play goal that was ripped underneath the cross bar by Nikita Kucherov from the slot. The assists went to Vladislav Namestnikov and Ondrej Palat, who made the play happen with some crisp passing.
After that, the wheels began falling off. The Bruins gained some traction and finally capitalized on one of their chances late in the first period, with Matt Belesky scoring on a rebound that was kicked out into the slot by Bishop. The assists went to Colin Miller and Jimmy Hayes.
Then, in the closing seconds of the first period, Victor Hedman took a slashing penalty. This was concerning against the top-ranked power play team in the league, but the Bolts were able to kill it off after it carried over to the second period, maintaining their streak of 19 straight penalty kills.
The Bruins ran into some penalty woes of their own, with Matt Belesky and Zdeno Chara taking back-to-back penalties resulting in a brief 5-on-3. After Boston killed off these two penalties, they never looked back, gaining momentum from the Bolts' failed attempts. They seemed to carry this momentum for almost the entire period, save for a few late chances for the Bolts in the closing minutes.
The third period seemed to be more of the same, as the Bolts just didn't seem to they were firing on all cylinders. Victor Hedman took another penalty at 3:57, this time for holding on a breakaway by Brad Marchand. Before that penalty could be killed off, Erik Condra took a tripping call. Former Lightning forward Brett Connolly scored just nine seconds into the resulting 5-on-3 at 5:54. The shot, taken from near the goal line, slipped over Ben Bishop's shoulder to give a Boston a 2-1 lead.
The Bruins would never relinquish their lead, adding an empty net goal by Brad Marchand at 18:50 to make it 3-1.
The Lightning will have to quickly put this one past them, as they travel to Raleigh tomorrow to take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 5 p.m.
- Lightning defenseman Matt Carle was a healthy scratch.
- The Bolts still have not led after the first period in any game this season.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Jeff Darrey as tonight's Community Hero. Darrey received a $50,000 donation, which will go toward Trinity Café where he is one of the founding directors. The Trinity Café has served a million meals with dignity, passion, love and respect and is one of Darrey's passionate commitments to service within the area. His mission is to ensure that the Café thrives and is available for those long past his own time and involvement. His legacy and the legacy of the Café will be a consistent presence of unconditional love in this community through a nutritious and delicious meal.