It seemed like this game had been circled on the calendar for months. The Tampa Bay Lightning welcomed in their biggest challenger in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins, to Amalie Arena. The atmosphere inside Amalie Arena was absolutely electric. The playoff preview combined with Boston fans on St.Patrick’s Day was a fun combo. Both teams had struggles in their previous games. The Lightning had given up 7 goals in a bad loss to the Ottawa Senators and the Bruins had just been shutout by the Florida Panthers’ backup goalie. The woes that doomed the Lightning on Tuesday reared their ugly head again. The Lightning went down early and struggled mightily on the penalty kill ultimately falling, 3-0.
Unfortunately, the Bolts’ defensive struggles from Tuesday night were on display early in this one. It was a great move by David Pastrnak that got it done, but there could have been more help from the Lightning defenders as their team went down 1-0 3 minutes into the game. The other weakness for Tampa Bay was exploited in the 1st period as well. Steven Stamkos picked up an interference penalty and seconds later Boston doubled the lead. This time it was David Backes who scored for the Bruins. The rest of the period didn’t go much better for Tampa Bay. Andrei Vasilevskiy had to make numerous, highlight reel saves to just keep the score at 2-0 heading to the middle period.
The momentum swung the Lightning’s way for the 1st time in the game when Brandon Carlo picked up a tripping penalty. Ryan McDonagh had the best chance of those 2 minutes, but Tuuka Rask was able to glove it to maintain the 2-goal lead. The Bolts didn’t have success on their power play, but Boston did, again. This time the Bolts’ penalty kill could only hold for 10 seconds until Riley Nash put the Bruins in front by 3. The Lightning had basically 4 straight minutes of power play time late in the period, but Rask continued his fantastic night. The Boston goaltender made a particularly great blocker save on a flamethrower of a shot from Victor Hedman.
The Lightning knew they had to put the pressure on in the final period to get back into the game. The Bolts got the shots on goal close for the 1st time of the night, but through the 1st half of the period; they still couldn’t get it past Rask. That continued for the remainder of the final period as the Bolts were ultimately shut out in this very important game.
The Lightning will be right back on the ice on Sunday. The game will have an earlier start time than normal when the Edmonton Oilers come to town. The puck is scheduled to drop at 5 pm with pregame coverage beginning at 4 on News Radio 970 WFLA.
1. BOS - Pastrnak - (Krug, McQuaid) - 3:07
2. BOS - PPG - Backes - (Krug, Marchand) - 10:54
1. BOS - PPG - Nash - (Nash, Krug) - 12:33
1. TBL -Stamkos - (Interference) - 10:41
1. BOS - Carlo - (Tripping) - 6:41
2. TBL - Sergachev - (High Sticking) - 12:23
3. BOS - Acciari - (Goaltender Interference) - 13:23
4. BOS - Schaller - (Roughing) - 13:23
5. TBL - Dotchin - (Roughing) - 13:23
6. BOS - Carlo - (Tripping) - 15:50
1. TBL - Hedman - (High Sticking) - 13:16
SHOTS ON GOAL
Tampa Bay - 23
Boston - 27