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The Boston Bruins, who had their eyes on a Sunshine State sweep, will fly north with a bad taste in their mouth tonight, after a 2-1 loss to the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins looked sluggish throughout the game, with the Bolts winning the majority of the puck battles and outmuscling the Bruins with pounding hits right from the opening faceoff.
Boston fell down one goal on a fluky mishandle of a bouncing puck headed Tim Thomas’s way. Thomas couldn’t field the long distance dump-in cleanly, leaving Vincent Lecavalier to pick it up and send it Alex Tanguay’s direction, who buried it to give the ‘Ning a 1-0 lead after one period.
The second period was absolutely owned by Tampa Bay, who had a 24-6 shot advantage in the period. Thomas made some great saves to keep the Bruins in the game, until his old college buddy, Martin St. Louis, was able to shove one in with just 12 seconds left in the second period, doubling Tampa’s lead to 2-0 heading into the second intermission.
Despite being outplayed for much of the game, Boston still had their chances to escape Tampa with at least a point in the standings. Marco Sturm was able to light the lamp and cut the deficit in half midway through the third period, giving Boston some hope late. Sturm later rang the left post on a slapper from the point, but that would be as close as the Bruins would get to knotting the score. Tampa wanted it more, and got the win on home ice, 2-1 at St. Pete Times Forum.
Boston, who was looking to match their longest win streak of the season at four games, now heads home to face Atlanta on Wednesday evening before the much anticipated Winter Classic game at Fenway Park on New Year’s Day against the Flyers. Tampa, who has now won four of their last five, will continue their five-game homestand Wednesday when they host Montreal.