Records fell tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning crushed the Boston Bruins 7-1. The Bolts Scored twice in 15 seconds to jump out to an early lead and never looked back. Nikita Kucherov pulled even with St. Louis for career postseason while having 4 point night. Throughout it all, the Lightning were even keeled and very solid defensively. three of four Bruins lines were ineffective against Tampa’s D.
In Tampa’s game two win, the Lightning faced adversity from the start. A broken stick, a missed challenge, and ensuing penalty. The Bolts had to rally time and time again to get the job done. In the first period of game three, the script was flipped. At 12:46 Ondrej Palat ripped a one timer over the shoulder of Halak t0 give the Lightning a 1-0 lead. It was also Tampa’s first power-play goal of the series. 15 seconds later Yanni gourde picked up the puck along the half wall. Although he was able to slide past McAvoy, McAvoy was not able to slide past the linesman standing along the boards.Therefore, Gourde had an unimpeded path to the net. He outwaited Halak and roofed a shot to give Tampa a 2-0 lead, the fastest two goals in Lightning playoff history. One of a few records to be met this night.
Dominance helps met records
Although the first period was uneventful (with a combined 15 shots), the Lightning absolutely dominated the second. They scored four times, two of them from Alex Killorn. The most impressive of which was a backhander that come from a rebound when Gourde’s shot bounced off the bounds and right to Killorn in front. Mikhial Sergachev would the light the lamp as part of a resurging power-play that would score twice in the period. In addition to the four goals, Tampa dominated shots on goal and possession. The third, although not as lopsided, saw more milestones. Kucherov would score to collect his fourth point of the night (Postseason career high) and tie Martin St. Louis record for the most playoff goals in franchise history (33). When the Lightning gained control, they never looked back.
Throughout the numerous records and dominating offensive performance there was something more impressive. Despite controlling play and going into the third period with a 6-1 lead, the Lightning never let there defensive game slip away. Brad Marchand scored for Boston in the second, but after that the Bolts never gave them another. Although the back to back likely had an affect on all the players, especially Boston, they did not give up another goal. If there is a spottable difference between this team and Lightning teams of the past, this may personify it.
The Lightning lead the series 2-1 heading into Friday’s game four. It will air on USA network at 7:30 pm EST. A win here would give the Lightning control of the series. However, it will not come easy. Expect a major pushback from Boston after being embarrassed tonight. The Lightning will have to weather the storm early and play solid defensively. If they continue to shut down the bottom three lines, they will have a good chance.
Star(s) of the Game: THE POWERPLAY
The Lightning power-play appeared out of nowhere after not scoring in the opening two games of this series. Their puck movement was crisp, the got pucks on net, and got second chances. Mostly dormant throughout much of the playoffs, it was incredibly encouraging to see it come to life. One goal in the first by Palat, and then a pair in the second from Sergachev and Killorn. The difference, Kucherov switched to his strong side. Look for that continue for as long as Stamkos remains out
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