A strong third period proved to be too little too late as the Lightning fell to the Bruins 2-1 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night.
Boston scored the lone goal of the first period with less than a minute remaining. Brad Marchand found a pocket of open space at the far post and tapped home a feed from Torey Krug to grab the lead for the Bruins.
Midway through the second period the Bruins doubled their lead. Jake DeBrusk fought through the check of Zach Bogosian and beat Andrei Vasilevskiy on a breakaway to make it 2-0.
Although the Bolts spent most of the second period on their heels defending, Tampa Bay got on the board late in the frame when Mitchell Stephens capitalized on some chaos in the crease. The puck fell right to Stephens' feet and his shot managed to find room between Tuuka Rask and the post to pull Tampa Bay within one.
Down by a goal entering the final frame, the Bolts put together their best period of the game. Thanks to some bad luck and some key saves from Rask, it wouldn't be enough.
Five minutes into the third period, Anthony Cirelli had chance on a breakaway but Rask was quick to make the save. Minutes later, Erik Cernak rang a shot from the right point off the crossbar and back into play.
Pressing in the final moments, the Lightning struggled to get possession and pull Vasilevskiy for the extra attacker. Tampa Bay could only get set up with the sixth skater with about a minute remaining and the Bruins managed to hang on from there.
Vasilevskiy was sharp in goal despite the loss. He finished the evening with 33 saves and kept the Lightning in the game with Boston pressing hard in the early going.
The loss drops Tampa Bay nine points behind Boston in the race for first in the Atlantic Division. The Lightning still sit comfortably in second, nine points clear of Toronto prior to their game in San Jose later on Tuesday night.
The Bolts won't have to wait long to get another crack at Boston, as the two teams will close out their regular season series on Saturday night at TD Garden. For now, the Lightning will turn their attention to Thursday's matchup against Montreal in the finale of this five-game homestand.
BOS | 19:05 Brad Marchand (28) - Torey Krug, David Pastrnak
BOS | 10:06 Jake DeBrusk (19) - Charlie Coyle
TBL | 17:28 Mitchell Stephens (3) - Tyler Johnson, Barclay Goodrow