There were several pivotal moments in this game, but none was bigger than the Lightning's unsuccessful five-minute major power play when the contest was still scoreless.
That power play occurred after Boston's Brad Marchand speared Jake Dotchin in the final minute of the first period. Marchand was assessed the five-minute major and was also thrown out of the game.
So the Lightning, who have enjoyed a terrific power play all season, had an opportunity to grab a lead in this game. But instead, the Bruins, who own one of the best penalty kill percentages in the league, shut down the Lightning attack. They held the Lightning to only two shots during the major, repeatedly cleared pucks down the ice and disrupted the Lightning's attempts to bring the puck back into the Bruins end. In the closing moments of the penalty, the Bruins even applied shorthanded pressure, including a dangerous chance off the rush for Dominic Moore.
Video: Dotchin on spear from Marchand
The failed major not only prevented the Lightning from scoring first, it also gave the Bruins a huge momentum boost. The Bruins dominated play in the minutes after the major expired. They held pucks in the Lightning end and peppered Andrei Vasilevksiy with shots and scoring chances. About a minute and a half after the penalty ended, Drew Stafford roofed a rebound chance into the top of the net and Boston had a 1-0 lead. If not for Vasilevskiy, though, the Bruins would have netted more than one goal during their surge.
At about the 10-minute mark of the second, the Lightning began pushing back. And that led to another key segment. This was the portion of the game in which the Lightning generated their most dangerous scoring chances. The Bolts finished the second period with 17 shots and many of those came when the score was still 1-0. But Tuukka Rask denied those Lightning looks to preserve his team's lead. Then, during a four-on-four late in the frame, the Lightning lost coverage off the rush and Riley Nash set up David Pastrnak for a backdoor goal.
Down 2-0 entering the third, the Lightning tried to make an early push. Their best chance to get on the board came when Nikita Kucherov rifled a shot past Rask, but his attempt rang off the crossbar.
Video: Stralman on 4-0 loss at Boston
Zdeno Chara's power play goal at 9:12 put the Bolts down by three and the Bruins defended well the rest of the way, limiting any scoring chances. It was a solid performance for the home team, one that earned them a trip back to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Brian Engblom):
The unsuccessful five-minute major power play.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Brian Engblom):
- Patrice Bergeron - Bruins. 17-0 on faceoffs.
- Zdeno Chara - Bruins. PPG.
- Braydon Coburn - Lightning.