There were several reasons why the Lightning won this game, their sixth straight overall and fourth in a row on the road. First, they won the special teams battle. The Lightning entered the game with the league’s worst road power play percentage and were facing a club with the league’s best home power play percentage. But the Bolts went 2-3 on the power play and killed all six Boston power play chances. Second, even though it didn’t officially count as a special teams goal, Steven Stamkos’ penalty shot goal was another important part of the win. Third, they took advantage of a stumble by Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid to score a two-on-zero goal. And lastly, after they had built a 4-1 lead in the first 30 minutes, they managed the final 30 minutes very well, ensuring that the Bruins didn’t mount a comeback.
The Lightning did allow the game’s first goal, however, and trailed after Kevan Miller scored off a right point shot at 6:01. But the deficit only lasted a little more than five minutes. Alex Killorn’s power play goal at 11:19 tied the game - it was a perfect shot from the left circle into the top of the net. Anton Stralman created the chance by carrying the puck into the Boston zone and drawing three defenders to him. Stralman slipped the puck to Killorn, who was able to get his shot off before any of the Boston players could block it.
McQuaid’s turnover came about three minutes later, after the Lightning had killed the first of those six Boston power plays. Ryan Callahan jumped on the puck as McQuaid fell and countered on a two-on-zero with Killorn. Those plays don’t happen often in games, but Callahan and Killorn executed it perfectly. Callahan gave the puck to Killorn, who waited for Tuukka Rask to commit to his side. Killorn then slid it back to Callahan, who buried the shot into an open net.
After killing two more penalties in the opening minutes of the second, the Lightning added to their lead with another power play goal. Valtteri Filppula won the offensive zone faceoff to start the man advantage and Stralman set up Stamkos at the left point. Callahan tipped Stamkos’ shot past Rask to extend the Lightning lead at 8:18. Less than two minutes later, with the teams skating four-on-four, Stamkos got loose on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. He patiently waited for Rask to commit, then walked wide and slid in a forehand.
Up 4-1 with just under 30 minutes left, the Lightning played a sound, smart game. They cleared pucks when they had a chance. They blocked lots of shots (and finished with a game total of 19). They killed three more penalties. When there were isolated breakdowns, Ben Bishop provided key saves. And they kept up their attack – J.T. Brown hit the post on a breakaway and Stamkos put a shorthanded attempt off the crossbar. But it turned out that the Lightning didn’t need any more goals. Based on how they closed out the final 30 minutes, they already had scored more than enough to win.
As has been the case in recent games, the line of Stamkos, Killorn and Callahan led the offensive charge for the Lightning. They combined for seven points and have now produced 28 points in the seven games they’ve been together as a line.
Now the Bolts will look to keep both the overall and road winning streaks alive when they complete the back-to-back against Toronto on Monday.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game:
The two-on-zero goal for Callahan, who gave the Lightning the lead for good.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
- Ryan Callahan – Lightning. Two goals and assist.
- Steven Stamkos – Lightning. Goal and assist. Six-game goal streak.
- Alex Killorn – Lightning. Goal and assist.