The bad news: The Lightning lost their 10th straight regular-season game in Boston last night. TD Garden continues to be where everything goes wrong for the Bolts. Last season, Steven Stamkos broke his leg. Yesterday, the Lightning announced Braydon Coburn, Cedric Paquette and Ondrej Palat would all miss significant time with injuries.
But for the good news: After a slow start, Tampa Bay outplayed the Bruins for the rest of the game.
Here’s three things we learned from the 3-2 shootout loss to the Bruins:
1. The penalty kill continued its strong play despite missing two key members
Ondrej Palat and Cedric Paquette both play significant roles on the Lightning penalty kill which had killed off 22 out of 26 opponent power plays in the last month and both missed their first game due to injury sustained in the game against Montreal.
The Bruins picked up four power play opportunities on Thursday night and failed to score on all four opportunities and struggled to get set up on the power play. Valterri Filppula and Alex Killorn each played more than three minutes shorthanded along with penalty kill regulars Tyler Johnson and Brian Boyle and the penalty kill didn't miss a beat.
2. Adversity is nothing new for the Bolts
Losing three regulars to significant injuries with less than 20 games remaining in the regular season in the middle of a division race isn’t ideal but this is nothing new for the Lightning.
Last season, the Bolts lost Stamkos to a broken leg, had their captain traded away and lost Ben Bishop to injury for the playoffs. This season, Victor Hedman missed more than 20 games with a broken finger.
The Lightning played one of their best games in recent memory in Boston and its easy to argue the Bolts deserved to win the game.
3. The Lightning continue to dominate possession
For the eighth consecutive game, Tampa Bay attempted more shots than its opponents at even strength. The Lightning finished with a 55.5 Corsi for percentage against the Bruins and finished with a 62.1 Corsi for percentage against the Canadiens on Tuesday.
Tampa Bay plays its best game when spending more time in the opponents offensive zone putting pressure on their defenders and wearing teams out. That’s a factor in why the Lightning have scored more third period goals than any other team in the NHL this season with 87.
Teams that dominate possession like the Lightning have been doing for the last month tend to win games as we’ve seen the Lightning win six out of the eight straight games they’ve won the possession battle at even strength.