In the first period of their game against the Boston Bruins, the Tampa Bay Lightning were aggressive and precise. In the second period they were sloppy and on their heels. In the third period they found some of that aggression again. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to overcome the sloppy second period where they surrendered three goals. A rally in the third fell short and they lost 5-3, snapping their four-game winning streak.
Nick Paul scored twice and Rudolfs “Rudy” Balcers netted his first Lightning goal. Andrei Vasilevskiy wasn’t as sharp as he had been in his previous two games as he surrendered 5 goals on 30 shots.
The Lightning did go with an 11-forward/7 defenseman line-up as Ross Colton missed the game with an upper-body injury and is officially day-to-day according to Coach Jon Cooper. While Lightning fans didn’t witness a victory, they did see a little history as Patrice Bergeron recorded his 1,000 career point with an assist in the second period.
Wow. Now that’s how you start a game. From the opening face-off when Nikita Kucherov danced into the zone to get a shot on net seconds into the game all the way through the first TV timeout eight game minutes later, it was all Lightning. Well the Lightning and Linus Ullmark. The Bolts outchanced them 7-0, and also built a 13-1 shot attempt advantage. Unfortunately, they couldn’t push a goal past the Bruins netminder.
Tampa Bay may have had a limited line-up due to injuries but the players on the ice were skating hard. Victor Hedman had perhaps the best chance as Rudy Balcers sent him in on a partial break where the Big Swede put one off the post. Vlad Namestnikov, Philippe Myers, and Brayden Point all had good chances.
With the way they were forechecking and retrieving pucks, it was only a matter of time till they put one on the board. Nick Paul found a soft area in front of the net and waited for the feed from Steven Stamkos. Once The Captain got the puck out to him, Paul’s shot was quicker than a hiccup and in the back of the net.
Nick Paul (Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn) 1-0 Lightning
This guy makes it look easy. pic.twitter.com/TOEvQnb2GN— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) November 22, 2022
The Bruins are 16-2 for a reason and despite getting caved in for the first portion of the period, they were going to respond at some point. Some nice work to keep the puck in the zone led to a two-on-one down low. Brad Marchand was open on the far side of the post, but Vasilevskiy was able to get over in time to deny the shot/kick of the puck.
He could not stop the absolute ripper of a slapshot from David Krejci. Old school hockey was in full effect as Krejci just entered the zone and let it go. The shot beat Vasilevskiy just over the right pad. Reports of the death of the slapper may have been premature.
David Krejci (Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grzelcyk) 1-1
David Krejci with the slap shot.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) November 22, 2022
Four goals in three games for the veteran center.
1-1 game. pic.twitter.com/xKO4UxpTNS
A late interference penalty by Erik Cernak gave the Bruins a power play with under a minute to go in the period. The Lightning had a solid and interesting kill. Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak collided in the offensive zone that eventually led to a Nick Paul chance at the buzzer. His shot didn’t go in, but he did draw a penalty to even things up to start the second period.
possibly the worst 16 seconds on the powerplay we've seen— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) November 22, 2022
DeBrusk & Pastrnak massive collision
Marchand turnover at the red line
McAvoy misses going for a huge hit
Brutal line change
Nick Paul shorthanded breakaway
(great save at the buzzer by Ullmark) pic.twitter.com/gXuXboe2ya
The Lightning took it to the league’s best team in the opening 20 minutes, outshooting (20-13 in attempts) and outchancing (11-8 scoring chances) a team that has controlled the puck for most of the season.
Neither team scored on the 4-on-4 and the Lightning were held to just one chance, a Nikita Kucherov one-timer that sailed over the net on their abbreviated power play. Later, Brayden Point had a gilt-edged chance as he split the defense but Ullmark denied his breakaway chance.
Another power play for the Bruins, compliments of a Pierre-Edouard Bellemare slash, did lead to a goal for the Bruins. Pavel Zacha snapped a shot on target that Vasilevskiy knocked up into the air. Nick Foligno’s stick beat Victor Hedman’s stick to the puck and the Bruin veteran was able to poke it into the net.
Nick Foligno (Pavel Zacha, David Krejci) Power Play, 2-1 Bruins
Thirty-one seconds, and a quick review, later, the Bruins doubled their lead. Charlie Croyle went to the side of the net and was able to tap in a loose puck that had gotten behind behind Vasilevskiy right before the puck was knocked off the moorings.
Charlie Croyle (Trent Frederic, Taylor Hall) 3-1 Bruins
So yeah, that was an unwelcome turn of events. Granted, the Lightning weren’t exactly helping themselves as they were turning the puck over at an alarming rate. The stat wizards at NHL.com dinged them for 9 giveaways in the period. That’s not great.
Brad Marchand made it 4-1 as he gloved down a blocked shot and had time to set it down and wrist it past Vasilevskiy. It was a milestone goal for the Bruins franchise as Patrice Bergeron recorded an assist on the goal - his 1,000th career point.
Brad Marchand (Jake DeBrusk, Patrice Bergeron) 4-1 Bruins
Congrats to Bergeron.
Want to know how bad the period was? Even when the Lightning scored it didn’t count. Philippe Myers floated a shot towards the net that was going to fly over the crossbar by about 3 feet until Corey Perry deflected it down past Ullmark. Sadly, that’s not allowed. Neither was the goal.
As well as they played in the first, they threw it all away with a dismal second period. Against Boston, that’s a strategy that will lead to goals against every single time.
The teams traded power plays early in the third. Want to guess how that turned out? Not great. The Lightning didn’t generate much at all while the Bruins converted theirs. Jake Debrusk walked to the front of the net and with Ian Cole not attacking him or cutting off the passing lane, the son of former Bolt Louis DeBrusk was able to slide it over to David Pastrnak who had a pretty open net to shoot it into.
David Pastrnak (Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy) Power Play, 5-1 Bruins
Give the Lightning credit, they managed to get it back to a three-goal deficit just 11 seconds later as Pat Maroon and Rudy Balcers worked together to cause a turnover that led to Balcers one-timing a pass past Ullmark for his first goal as a member of the Lightning.
Rudolfs Balcers (Pat Maroon) 5-2 Bruins
It was nice to see some push back, but the goal likely only mattered to the Balcers family and those who bet the over in total goals.
Was it the start of a comeback?
The Lightning went back on the power play and scored. It was just the second road power play goal the Bruins have allowed this season and it came on a pretty simple play. Hedman took the puck in the zone and it seemed like all of the Bruins expected him to shoot as he drifted to the slot. Instead, he hooked it back to Paul who clanked it off the far post and in to make it 5-3.
Nick Paul (Victor Hedman, Pat Maroon) Power Play, 5-3 Bruins
The Bruins managed to blunt the momentum a bit with a strong shift in the Lightning zone which bled time off of the clock. Vasy had to be sharp on several saves to keep the Bruins lead at two goals. As usual Coach Cooper went with the aggressive move as he pulled Vasilevskiy with 3:55 left in the game.
It was to no avail as Ullmark made one final save on a point blank shot from Corey Perry to secure the 5-3 win.
The Lightning will have some time to stew on the loss as they are off until Friday when they take on the St. Louis Blues.