TAMPA - The Bruins knew they would have to weather the storm on Monday night.
After pinning a 6-2 thumping on the Lightning in the opener of their second-round playoff series, the Black & Gold were prepared for Tampa's best pushback in Game 2.
And that's exactly what they got, particularly over the game's first 10 minutes. Held without a shot over the first 13-plus minutes, Boston quickly fell behind by a goal, despite another stellar opening frame from Tuukka Rask (28 saves on the night).
The Bruins eventually rebounded, tying the score on Charlie McAvoy's first career playoff goal later in the first, but the Lightning had already set a tone.
Tampa forward Brayden Point - a minus-5 in Game 1 - bounced back, piling up a goal and three assists to the pace the Bolts over the Bruins, 4-2, and tie the series at 1 heading back to Boston.
"They started really well tonight," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "Clearly they were the better team the first 10 minutes. Our goaltender held us in. We found our game. The 5-on-3 [power play late in the first], we didn't score, but it at least got us back in the game feeling the puck, got our D a little bit of rest. Kind of picked it up from there."
Video: BOS Recap: Bruins drop Game 2 to Lightning
Once McAvoy tied the game off a slick feed from Patrice Bergeron with just 1:30 remaining in the first, the teams traded chances through the next 25-plus minutes. But it was only the Lightning that was able to cash in.
After hopping on a Bruins turnover high in the their own zone, Tampa got going the other way and Tyler Johnson capitalized for a 2-1 lead at 10:14. The Lightning doubled their advantage at 14:08 of the third, jumping on another Bruins giveaway when Ondrej Palat buried one top shelf.
"You don't want to feed this team's transition," said McAvoy. "They're a good transition team. We pride ourselves on that. That first goal for us was a good transition. Their second goal they had was a quick transition…that's the way the game is going, the best teams can take advantage of opportunities there like they were able to."
Video: Charlie McAvoy speaks to media after Game 2 loss
Torey Krug brought the Bruins within one with 4:02 to play, providing some life in the waning minutes. And it appeared that Boston was going to have a golden opportunity to tie the game when Brad Marchand followed up with a breakaway attempt just moments later. But in a controversial non-call, Marchand was slashed on the hands by Anton Stralman, negating any opportunity at a clean shot on Andrei Vasilevskiy.
"That's kind of a play they called earlier in the game, they called that all year, a slash around the hands, that's an automatic penalty shot, let alone a penalty," said Marchand. "Tough one there, but we had some chances on the power play [earlier in the game]. We have to capitalize."
Video: Brad Marchand speaks to media after Game 2 loss
Despite a difficult and frustrating loss, the Bruins return home for Games 3 and 4 with the series tied, having wrestled home-ice advantage away from the Lightning in what it is now a best-of-five for a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.
"It's 1-1. We're in the playoffs, you're not gonna walk through teams," said Marchand. "We have home-ice advantage now, we'll go home. This game's over, it's done with, and we'll move on."
Video: Bruce Cassidy speaks to media after Game 2 loss