One of the most important segments in this game came in the first six minutes. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron scored on the opening shift. Shortly thereafter, the Bruins went on a power play with a chance to add to their lead. But the Lightning killed off the penalty, which began as a dangerous four-on-three man advantage. Fourteen seconds after the penalty expired, Vladdy Namestnikov tied the score at one. The Lightning never again trailed in the game.
Another key moment came halfway through the first. Boston’s Brad Marchand, who had engaged in a post-whistle scrum with Tyler Johnson earlier in the game, tried to make a borderline hit on Valtteri Filppula. As play continued, Steven Stamkos challenged Marchand and the two fought. The fight energized the Lightning team and the Bolts took over the game. Less than a minute after the fight, the Lightning netted two goals in a fifteen second span to grab a 3-1 lead.
Eventually, the Bolts made it 4-1 at 7:54 of the second period. Boston coach Claude Julien pulled Tuukka Rask, who allowed the four goals on 12 shots. Up until that point, the Lightning were decisively carrying play (even though shots were even at 12-12). Their team speed caused problems for the Bruins. Their forecheck was effective in helping them retrieve or intercept pucks in the offensive zone. They put traffic on Rask. And they had the better of the scoring chances. Namestnikov’s goal came off third shot following two rebounds. J.T. Brown’s goal was a “speed” tally, as he split two Boston d-men off the rush. Anton Stralman’s tally beat Rask through a heavy screen. Rask might have liked back Garrison’s goal, which came off an unscreened point shot. But it occurred the end of a strong shift for the Bolts, one in which Tyler Johnson had almost scored moments before.
Niklas Svedberg replaced Rask after Garrison’s goal – and the flow of play shifted. The Bruins enjoyed the majority of the puck possession for the rest of the period and generated a few dangerous chances on Ben Bishop. While the Bruins deserve credit for picking up their game, the Lightning greatly helped Boston’s cause with poor puck management. The Bolts were guilty of numerous unforced turnovers, which allowed the Bruins to keep applying pressure (and prevented the Lightning from doing so). After Garrison’s goal, the Lightning only managed three shots for the rest of the period – though one of those was a terrific in-alone scoring chance for Jonathan Drouin. Still, Bishop, with 10 second period stops, kept the lead at 4-1 heading into the third.
The Lightning’s puck management was a bit better in the third – and in the first half of the frame, they did enjoy some extended offensive zone time. But still, three minutes into the third, Bishop made a couple of key point blank saves on Boston’s Max Talbot and Gregory Campbell. Later on, Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn had a clear two-on-zero rush, but tried to pass the puck back and forth three times. Svedberg alertly poked the last pass away with his stick. Moments later, the Bruins earned another power play chance. Zdeno Chara scored on the man advantage with a rising point shot. The Lightning’s lead was down to 4-2. Nearly two minutes later, however, Carl Soderberg took a hooking minor and on the ensuing power play, Ondrej Palat zipped a shot from the slot past Svedberg. That tally reestablished a three-goal lead with 6:10 left. The Bruins pressed in the closing minutes and tallied the game’s final goal in the last minute. They would get no closer, though, as the Bolts snapped their 10-game losing streak against Boston.
Associate Coach Rick Bowness joined us during the second intermission and spoke about the Lightning’s shaky puck management after they went up, 4-1. He stated that the team is still maturing and that with more maturity, they might handle a three-goal lead against a desperate team more effectively. Playing with a multiple goal lead for most of a game can be challenging. Such a lead might feel safe, but it isn’t going to be if, as Bowness stated, “you’re not playing the right way”.
Having written that, the Lightning deserve much credit for how they responded to Bergeron’s early goal. They bounced back with that strong PK, keeping the deficit at one, and tied the game on the shift after the penalty ended. Then, Stamkos stood up to Marchand and sparked his club. The Bruins didn’t have an answer as the Bolts built their three-goal lead. The Lightning deserved the win tonight and will relish their first win over the Bruins since the 2011-12 season.
Lightning Radio Big Moment of the Game (as selected by Jassen Cullimore):
Palat’s PPG in the third period, which came shortly after Chara’s goal had cut the Lightning lead to two.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Jassen Cullimore):
1.J.T. Brown – Lightning. Goal and assist.
2.Vladdy Namestnikov – Lightning. Goal and assist.
3.Jason Garrison – Lightning. Goal.