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Bruins Put A Beatdown on Bolts in Beantown

Tonight’s game saw the Tampa Bay Lightning in Boston to face the Atlantic Division leading Bruins. Still energized by their first win in Minnesota Thursday in the Jon Cooper era. It would be an understatement to say tonight’s game is a test for the consistently inconsistent Lightning. The Bruins have been one of the top five teams in the league since opening night. Both teams have excellent power plays and both teams are killing penalties at over 80%. Special teams could be the difference tonight. 

The Lightning recalled two new defensemen from Syracuse. Jack Thompson and Emil Martinsen were called up and reassigned defensemen Sean Day and Declan Carlile back to the Crunch. Andrei Vasilevskiy gets the start in net for the Lightning and Linus Ullmark goes for the Bruins.

First Period

Any positive residual from the win in Minnesota was evident at the beginning of this game. Brayden Point took a feed from Nikita Kucherov and lit the lamp 21 seconds into the game. It was a forechecking clinic by Tampa’s top line. Brandon Hagel executed a nice stick lift in the corner and pushed the puck behind Boston’s net. Kucherov flipped the puck from behind the net to Point in the low slot who went top shelf on Ullmark. Clearly, the Lightning were ready for tonight’s puck drop. The question then becomes, can they maintain this compete level for the next 59 minutes? 

Three minutes into the period, Calvin deHaan was called for a tripping penalty. As advertised, the Boston power play is one of the best in the league. Though the Lightning penalty killers successfully killed one minute and 59 seconds of the penalty, just as deHaan was about to step out of the penalty box, Trent Frederic tied the game with a power play goal. 

The period went on with the Lightning playing well 5 on 5. This has been one of the inconsistencies thus far this season. As the final five minutes of the period approached, the Bruins scored another goal. Charlie McAvoy slapped a shot past Vasilevskiy to give the Bruins a one goal lead, 2-1 and that’s how the first period ended.

Second Period

Despite playing fairly well in the first, the Lightning were coming into the middle period, down by a goal. To make this a game, they need to score the next goal. Just like that, a goal is scored not even two minutes into the period. Unfortunately, Boston scored the goal. Frederic nets his second goal of the game from behind the Lightning net. He bounced the puck off the back of Vasilevskiy’s skate and the puck went into the net. The Bruins now lead 3-1 and this game could get away from the Lightning.

Now the Lightning are chasing this game. Hard to do against a team like Boston especially in their barn. Just past the seven minute mark, Bruins Brandon Carlo got his stick lifted by Kucherov right in front of the Boston net. Kucherov then put the puck past the prone Ullmark who was sprawling to get the puck while Carlo still had possession. Now the Lightning gets back to just a one goal deficit at 3-2 Boston.

Second Period Continued

As the second period headed toward the final minutes, the Lightning’s top line went to work again. Hagel took the puck from the defensive zone and took off for the Bruins zone. Kucheov was meeting him stride for stride and Hagel got him the puck as they entered the Boston zone. 

Kucherov sends a blind backhanded pass to Point who sniped the puck past Ullmark to get the Lightning back to within one goal at 4-3 Boston. That’s how the second period ended.

Third Period

Sure the Lightning were coming into the third period behind a goal but they still had a chance. To be in a position where one good shot ties the game on the road, any team will take that. Any hope dwindled fast as Boston scored on an odd man rush to make it 5-3. There was still over 17 minutes left in regulation but the die has been cast. 

The Lightning put on a valiant effort and had plenty of offensive zone time which led to some good looks but Ullmark stopped whatever he faced. Boston did add an empty net goal and the final nail in the coffin with a breakaway goal by Charlie Coyle to give us the final 7-3 score. 

Tonight, with the exception of the top line, the Lightning played horribly. The power play was 0 for 4. The penalty kill played ok but gave up Boston’s first goal. The defense was doing its best imitation of swiss cheese and Vasilevskiy was below average. 

Three Stars 

  1. Trent Frederic – 2 goals including the first for Bruins
  2. Nikita Kucherov – 1 goal and 2 assists. Has a hand in every goal Lightning scored. 
  3. Brayden Point – 2 goals

What’s Next

Tuesday night back home at Amalie Arena against the Los Angeles Kings at 7:00 pm.

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