Game 37: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins

The Tampa Bay Lightning lost 4-3 to the Boston Bruins, in a game that was a near win, but severed by brutal officiating at the end.

The game was a tight effort between Boston and Tampa Bay, especially in light of this month's 8-1 loss to Boston. Essentially, Boston kept scoring, and Tampa Bay kept catching up. Unfortunately, the Lightning progression wasn't enough, and a botched call at the end gave Boston the win.

The Bruins scored 28 seconds in on the Boston power play, after roughing penalties were given to both Brad Marchand and Sean Bergenheim (Berg received a double minor for both roughing and cross checking). Boston, you see, has a lovely habit of winning when they score first, and now holds a keen record of 15-1-1 in the situation.

The Bolts responded well to the Boston goal, as Steven Stamkos tied the game at 1-1 on the Lightning power play seven minutes in.

The first period was well played; the second was lagging. Steven Kampfer scored early in the second, directly after the Bolts penalty kill (too many men/ice), giving Boston the 2-1 lead. Vincent Lecavalier tied the game with a wrap around goal against Tim Thomas, to tie the game 2-2 and finish the second.

The third was patterned the same, as Boston scored (3-2). After several attempts, Martin St. Louis capitalized on a pass across the front of the net from Stamkos for the game's third equalizing goal.

Late in the third, Stamkos went against Gregory Campbell with a shoulder-to-shoulder that knocked Campbell down into the broads. Officials saw a boarding call, and Boston followed with a power play. Mark Recci followed with a Boston power play goal with 19.7 seconds left in the period.

Speculation about Colin Campbell remains the elephant in the room, as the coincidence of a questionable call and Campbell's son come up in conversation once again. Then again, perhaps it was just a botched call.

[But go ahead, insert remarks about Colin Campbell's influence here.]

The Bolts didn't give up. St. Louis had a fantastic shot at 12 seconds left that could have tied up the game again, but miracle averted, Thomas blocked the shot to finish the game for Boston.

Ellis, in my opinion, didn't have a bad game. He made 25 saves overall, and responded well to Ryder's goal opener. Tim Thomas blocked 31 shots overall for an impressive game for Boston.

Boucher, surprisingly, had no negatives for the team, and as usual, praised the team for their depth and character. Boucher was immensely disappointed with the boarding call, and backed Stamkos for his play, and said that despite the call, "we're not gonna change."

Other bright spots for Tampa include Ryan Malone, who had eight shots and one assist. Stamkos had a 67% faceoff win percentage, and Lecavalier had a 63%.

The Lightning will play the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday, December 30 at 7:30 PM in Tampa, so if you won't be in attendance, stop by the game thread for a word or two.

Other recaps:

Bruins vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Bruins vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Bruins vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]

Stanley Cup of Chowder [SB Nation]