Congratulations to the Lightning, who won their 62nd game and tied the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most victories in an NHL regular season. And congrats to Nikita Kucherov. With a goal and an assist today, he posted 128 points, the most-ever by a Russian player in the NHL.
Now to the game itself. Both the Lightning and Bruins were already locked into their playoff position and decided to rest several regulars. So as was the case on Thursday in Toronto, this wasn't a high-intensity game. Things did pick up somewhat in the third period, as there were some hits and physical play, but it never reached a particularly high level.
Despite the lack of intensity, the Lightning still rallied from a 2-0 first period deficit. They had some defensive miscues in the first - a rush coverage breakdown led to the first Boston goal and a d-zone turnover preceded the second. But following the first period, the Lightning greatly limited their mistakes. That aided their comeback. So did their ability to convert on scoring chances. Erik Cernak made a good read during a second period power play and moved into a prime scoring position in the slot. Also in the second, Steven Stamkos converted on a shorthanded breakaway (his second SHG in as many games). Before the frame ended, Anthony Cirelli collected the puck after a blocked shot and quickly fired the puck past Tuukka Rask.
In the opening minute of the third, Kucherov broke past two Boston defenders and finished his in-alone chance to extend the lead to 4-2. After Kucherov's goal, the Bruins made a concerted push to get back in the game. Boston recorded 15 third period shots, but Eddie Pasquale stopped 14 of them. Seconds after the Bruins cut the Lightning lead to 4-3, Braydon Coburn snapped a long-range shot past Rask to re-establish the two-goal lead. Kucherov's assist on Tyler Johnson's empty-netter was his record-breaking point.
The Lightning just wrapped up one of the best regular seasons in NHL history. But now that's behind them. And they are looking ahead - to the start of the playoffs.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game:
1. Nikita Kucherov - Lightning. Goal and assist.
2. Steven Stamkos - Lightning. SHG.
3. Eddie Pasquale - Lightning. 30 saves.