For the first 35 minutes of this game, the Lightning were doing what they needed to in order to win in Boston. Missing the injured Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson and playing the second game of a back-to-back against a rested opponent, the Lightning had a 2-1 heading into the final five minutes of the second period. They were managing the puck well out of their own end and working the puck in deep into the Boston zone. The Bruins’ scoring chances had been, for the most part, kept to a minimum.
But as was the case Monday in Philadelphia, the Lightning endured a damaging stretch that cost them dearly. The Bruins netted three unanswered goals over a 6:06 span and took over the game. The first two of those goals, which came in the final 4:36 of the second, were the result of rush coverage miscues, a continuation of a problem that surfaced in Philly. On the goal that tied the score at 2-2, David Pastrnak skated down the left wing and cut in front of Matt Carle, sweeping in a forehand past Ben Bishop. Then, in the final minute of the period, the Lightning got caught on a bad line change and surrendered a three-on-two rush. David Krecji saucered the puck to Milan Lucic, who had an in-alone chance on Bishop. Bishop made the save, but the rebound ricocheted in off Anton Stralman.
Once the Bruins had the lead, they kept their foot on the gas pedal. Following a couple of early third period shifts in which the Lightning turned the puck over in their own end, thereby keeping the puck there for a faceoff, the Bruins added to their advantage. Following a Krejci faceoff win, Pastrnak netted his second of the game when he gobbled up a rebound and tucked in a wraparound.
Much of the rest of the third period was spent in the Lightning zone. For the first time all game, Tampa Bay looked like a team that had played the night before – and had been chasing deficits. The Bruins fired 16 third period shots on net and dominated play. The Lightning enjoyed one sustained offensive zone shift in the frame, which led to Ryan Callahan’s goal that pulled the Bolts to within 4-3 with 5:42 remaining. But the Lightning could not muster enough of an attack to net the equalizer.
What’s frustrating about this defeat is that the Lightning did a number of good things during those first 35 minutes. But they squandered that good work in a six-minute span. A span which put them down by multiple goals and fueled a Boston momentum surge that helped the home team carry play for most of the rest of the game.
This game wrapped up a stretch of 11 road games out of 15. The Lightning will play the next three – and five of the next six – at Amalie Arena. They’ll look to shore up their rush coverage and limit these damaging segments that hurt them in Philly and Boston.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
Lucic’s goal scored in the final minute of the second period, giving the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1.David Pastrnak – Bruins. Two goals. Seven shots.
2.Steven Stamkos – Lightning. Two goals.
3.David Krecji – Bruins. Two assists.