There's an old adage in hockey - a team tends to struggle in the first home game following a long road trip. Nobody has ever determined exactly why this happens, but the adage exists because it's often true.
In Thursday's game against the Boston Bruins, the Lightning, coming off a six-game road trip, did not start the game well. They were flat in the opening minutes and surrendered an early goal to Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo. After Ryan Spooner netted a power play goal at 10:47 of the first, the Lightning were trailing, 2-0. (It's the third time in five home games that the Bolts fallen behind, 2-0, in the first period.)
So the Lightning's start wasn't great. Also, they had some team defense/puck management issues at different points in the game. But on the other hand, the Lightning deserve credit for battling back (again) after falling behind by scores of 2-0 and 3-1. Especially, as detailed earlier, when they weren't clicking on all cylinders. And doing against Tuukka Rask was no small feat. Rask had allowed a total of three goals in his previous four starts. The Bolts also overcame another bad bounce resulting in an opposition goal - on the third Boston score, Patrice Bergeron's cross-ice pass ricocheted off the skate of David Pastrnak and went into the net.
So there were positives. The power play was impactful again - each of the two power play goals pulled them to within a goal of the Bruins. Also, Tyler Johnson netted two goals, doubling his goal output for the season.
Losing in a shootout usually leaves a sour taste. Particularly when considering that the Lightning had a number of chances to win the game after they tied it in the third period. Nikita Kucherov's shot toward a vacated net was blocked by Carlo. The Lightning couldn't score during a four-on-three power play in overtime. And after Brayden Point converted in the fourth round of the shootout, Riley Nash extended the game when he scored in the same round for Boston.
But the bottom line is that the Lightning at least got one point and, thanks to their comeback, avoided a regulation loss.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
Johnson's second goal, tying the game at three.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
- Tyler Johnson - Lightning. Two goals.
- Tuukka Rask - Bruins. 27 saves for win.
- Andrei Vasilevskiy - Lightning. 28 saves.