Like the old saying goes “you plan a pretty picnic but you can’t predict the weather.” That saying fit perfectly Thursday night when the Boston Bruins took on the Tampa Bay Lightning because it was all Lightning, all night. It was also Steven Stamkos all night as he had two goals for the game and is now tied for the league lead in that category.
The Bruins went into the game with an eight-point lead over Tampa Bay in the East, but the Lightning made things a little more interesting as they are battling with Florida, Atlanta and the New York Rangers, along with the Bruins, for the last playoff spot. Tampa Bay jumped on Boston early and the Bruins couldn’t catch up in their 5-3 loss, as they barely cling onto the last playoff spot.
Now I’m not sure how the Bruins lost this game because they did have 50 shots on goal. That is not a typo, they had 50 shots on goal and lost!!! How does that happen? I’m not sure I can answer that but just run that question by head coach Claude Julien and maybe he’ll have an answer. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay only had 18 shots on goal and scored five.
I really don’t know how that happens, but it did and it is really tough for any Bruins fan to watch. Boston fell to 33-28-12 (78 points) on the year, while Tampa Bay improved to 30-32-12 (72 points).
Stopping 47-of-50 shots on goal for the Lightning was Antero Niittymaki. Niittymaki has never been a premiere goalie in the NHL and I am sure Thursday’s game was certainly a career highlight for him. The win brought his record to 20-16-5 on the season.
For the Bruins, Tuukka Rask started in goal and stopped only 13-of-18 shots on goal. The loss brought him to 18-11-4 on the year. Rask recently came off a shutout win over the Atlanta Thrashers but looked a little slow against the Lightning.
- Stamkos got things going quickly, less than a minute to be precise, early on in the first period as he netted his 44th goal of the year. He was assisted by Steve Downie and Mike Lundin on the play. Lightning up 1-0
- Not much happened the rest of the period until Martin St. Louis scored his 27th goal of the year to make the lead even larger for Tampa Bay. He was assisted by Vincent Lacavalier and Victor Hedman on the play. Lightning up 2-0
- Not too long after St. Louis’s goal, Mark Stuart and Downie received a couple penalties. Stuart for roughing Downie and Downie for elbowing Stuart. Each received two minutes in the penalty box.
- The Bruins got on the board with 27 seconds left in the period on Zdeno Chara’s sixth goal of the year. He was assisted by David Krejci and Dennis Wideman on the play. Lightning up 2-1
- Tampa Bay kept their strong play up as Paul Szczechura scored his first of two goals on the night. His goal was unassisted. Lightning up 3-1
- The Bruins retaliated by having Johnny Boychuk score his fifth goal of the season. He was assisted by Krejci and Michael Ryder on the play. Lightning up 3-2
- With 26 seconds left in the period, Stamkos added his second goal of the night with the man advantage to put his team up by two. He was assisted by Kurtis Foster on the play. Lightning up 4-2
- Szczechura got things going (again) for the Lightning to start off the third period. He netted his fifth goal of the season on Tampa Bay’s power play to give the Lightning a commanding lead. He was assisted by St. Louis and Alex Tanguay on the goal. Lightning up 5-2
- As the Bruins tried hard to catch up with their 19 shots on goal in the third, only one of them went in. It was Mark Recchi’s 16th goal of the season that snuck by Niittymaki to bring the B’s to within two with a little more than nine minutes left in the game. Recchi was assisted by Patrice Bergeron and Dennis Seidenberg on the play. Lightning up 5-3
The Bruins next take on the Calgary Flames at home on Saturday. The Flames are 37-28-9 on the season and are 18-12-6 on the road.
- Vladamir Sobotka did not play for the Bruins as he is out with a head injury.
- The Bruins struggled on the power play as they went 0-for-3 while the Lightning went 2-for-3 on the game.
- Boston has not had a power-play goal in the past eight games.
- The Bruins out-hit the Lightning 22-to-12 while Tampa Bay (34) won more faceoffs than the Bruins (25).
- Chara left the ice two minutes into the third period after being hit in the hand with the puck. He iced it on the bench and returned to play a couple of minutes later.
Tags: Antero Niittymaki, Boston Bruins, Paul Szczechura, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara