Heading into the second half of a back-to-back set, the Tampa Bay Lightning met up with the Boston Bruins for just the second time this season, seeking to continue their winning ways. The Bolts entered this contest at TD Garden looking to extend their 10-game winning streak and their 14-game point streak (12-0-2).
Conversely, Boston came into this game almost equally hot, owning a 14-game point streak of their own (10-0-4). This was the first time in NHL history that two teams on point streaks of at least 14 games were playing each other. By the end of the night, it was the Bruins who kept their streak alive.
Powered by a 41-21 shot advantage and three third period goals in the span of 1:28, the Bruins brought their A-game and dominated the Lightning by a 4-1 score. On the other end, Tampa Bay was playing their third game in four nights. Tuukka Rask picked up the win while Louis Domingue saw his personal 11-game winning streak stopped despite making 37 saves, several of the spectacular variety. If not for Domingue, this game might have been much worse. It was Domingue’s first loss since a 3-1 setback to Anaheim on November 27.
Domingue came up big early on by propping up the Lightning
During the opening 20 minutes, fatigue appeared to be a factor for Tampa Bay. However, the Lightning simply didn’t play very well for long stretches of this game, as they had a lot of difficulty maintaining any sort of pressure in the Bruins’ zone. Boston controlled play in the first period, out-shooting Tampa Bay 17-4 and creating several high-caliber chances.
Fortunately for the Lightning, Domingue came up big. Making his first start since February 19 in Philadelphia, Domingue stood tall with several high-quality saves. He also got some help from Ryan McDonagh, who swept away a rebound chance for David Backes at the last moment. If not for that play, Backes would have probably scored into an open net.
This game had a bit of a playoff feel early on, as there were some unpleasant words exchanges, a few minor shoving matches, and a spirited fight between Backes and Adam Erne.
A crucial penalty kill leads to Boston grabbing the lead
At the 4:54 mark, Zdeno Chara took a cross-checking penalty in front of the net after the Lightning, led by the line of Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov, put up their best shift of the night. On the ensuing man-advantage, the league’s top power play didn’t even muster a shot on goal. As a result, the kill galvanized the Bruins, who continued to crank up the pressure. At the 8:11 mark, Victor Hedman went to the box for interfering with Jake DeBrusk. Just 32 seconds later, DeBrusk made the Lightning pay as his shot from the left circle deflected off Anton Stralman and past Domingue for a 1-0 Boston lead.
The Bruins continued to pile up the chances, holding a 32-9 advantage in shots on goal after two periods. DeBrusk was particularly good for Boston, creating multiple chances. Despite being clearly outplayed through 40 minutes, the Lightning found themselves trailing by just one goal.
Eventually, the Bruins poured it on and pulled away
Tampa Bay began the third period with some jump, generating some sustained pressure and creating chances early on. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t result in any offense. However, the game got a bit chippy when Braydon Coburn laid out Sean Kuraly behind the Lightning net with a big hit that forced him to leave the game. Kuraly fell back and his head hit Erik Cernak’s arm during the play.
Despite the improved play from the Bolts, the Bruins pushed back and Joakim Nordstrom found himself with a prime scoring opportunity in front. However, Domingue had other ideas:
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 1, 2019
That was some sensational stuff from Domingue, who did literally everything in his power to keep the Lightning in this game. However, it wasn’t enough. Following a Lightning turnover in their own end, Noel Acciari crashed the net and pounced on a rebound for a goal to make it 2-0. Just 45 seconds later, Patrice Bergeron fired a shot past Domingue to make it 3-0. It only took Brad Marchand 43 seconds to increase that lead to 4-0, leading Domingue to break his stick in frustration.
Anthony Cirelli ended the shutout bid with his 13th goal of the season. It originally appeared to be Ondrej Palat’s goal, but replays showed the shot bounced off of Cirelli.
Despite the setback, the Lightning still hold a commanding lead on the rest of the NHL
With the defeat, the Lightning are now 49-12-4 on the season, good for 102 points. The Bruins are now 17 points behind them. Despite going 11-0-4 in their last 15 games, Boston has made up exactly two points in the standings on Tampa Bay. The Bolts also still hold a 13-point lead on Calgary for the Presidents’ Trophy.
The Lightning seek to bounce back on Saturday night when they host the Ottawa Senators at 7 pm. It will be the first game of a four-game homestand.
Three Stars of the Game
1st Star: Noel Acciari – One goal and one assist. His goal put the Bruins up 2-0, setting the stage for them to tack on two more.
2nd Star: Jake DeBrusk – One power play goal. He was a force all night by creating chances for the Bruins.
3rd Star: Louis Domingue – Stopped 37 of 41 shots. If not for his efforts, this game could have gotten really out of hand.
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