By Dory LeBlanc
In the final meeting between the Bruins and the Lightning, Tampa Bay could not avoid a season sweep from their Atantic Division rivals, falling to Boston 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Lightning started the contest with a high level of intensity, keeping the puck in the Bruins zone and jumping out to a 7-0 lead in shots on goal. It took nearly 14:00 for Boston to get their first attempt of the night, then quickly had a change in momentum gaining five unanswered SOG in the final 6:04 of the frame, including a laser by Torey Krug that hit the goalpost as time expired to end a scoreless first period.
With six seconds remaining on a carried-over penalty for the Bruins to start the second, Tyler Johnson was knocked down and hustled back up to chase the puck, drawing Tuuka Rask out of the net and allowing Ondrej Palat to sneak in a shorthanded goal.
Less than four minutes later, Mark Barberio took a slapshot from the point, that managed to find the net with Nate Thompson causing problems for Rask's vision in front of the crease. The goal was initially under review to make certain the puck didn't go in off Thompson's skate, but the replay showed he clearly lifted his right skate and the puck slid in underneath. Ryan Callahan, traded to the Lightning Wednesday for longtime Bolt Martin St. Louis picked up his first point in a Tampa Bay uniform with a secondary assist on Barberio's goal.
Boston cut the Lightning lead in half after Daniel Paille's backhanded effort inched past Ben Bishop at the 6:58 mark of the second to make the score 2-1. 1:31 later, Carl Soderberg caught the Lightning on a bad line change and beat Bishop one-on-one to level the score 2-2.
Vatteri Filppula gave Tampa Bay the lead back 62 seconds later after taking a pass from Palat and sending it high past Rask. Palat was given credit with the assist, his second point of the night.
The second period came to an end with the Lightning leading 3-2, after a nine-minute bevy of goals and an intense push from both teams. However, after Tampa Bay defenseman Matt Carle was caught in a shift that lasted over 2:00, the Lightning made a surge in energy and finished out the period with some of the strongest hockey since coming back from the Olympic break.
The Bruins would tie it eight minutes into the third period off a Johnny Boychuk slapshot from the blue line which would eventually be the final goal of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
After five scoreless minutes of four-on-four hockey, the two clubs headed into a shootout, with Reilly Smith getting the game-winner for Boston in the seventh round of the shootout.
First Period - NONE
Second Period -
1. TB - Palat (Johnson, Brewer) :27
2. TB - Barberio (Panik, Callahan) 4:13
3. BOS - Paille (Campbell, Boychuk) 6:58
4. BOS - Soderberg (Kelly) 8:29
5. TB - Filppula (Palat) 9:31
Third Period -
1. BOS - Boychuk (Soderberg, Eriksson) 8:11
Shootout Tally: TBA
Shots On Goal:
BOS - 32
TB - 20
BOS - (1) Thornton - Fighting (5:00), Chara - Roughing; (2) NONE; (3)
TB - (1) Hedman - Tripping, Aulie - Fightning (5:00), Barberio - Slashing; (2) NONE; (3) Purcell - Hooking
Next up for the Bolts: The Lightning will host the Phoenix Coyotes, currently sitting in fourth place in the Pacific Division, Monday, March 10th at 7:30pm. You can catch all of the action on sister station 970 WFLA with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito and Dave Mishkin giving the call with coverage beginning at 7:00pm.