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The Bruins (29-13-1) were looking to follow up their shootout win on Monday night as they visited the slumping Lightning. Unfortunately a lack of defensive effort across the table instead led them to an awful 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay, who had been losers of seven consecutive games. The smallest of bright spots in the game, including two goals from Nathan Horton didn’t make up for their ugly play.
Things didn’t start out in the Bruins favor as Vincent Lacavalier scored first for the Lightning at 7:11 of the period. The goal emerged from a scramble in the front of the net, as Lecavalier mashed a backhanded shot past Tim Thomas in net.
The Bruins play in the first was decent at best, consistently giving in to turnovers and missed opportunities on the power play, which had been a problem over the last few games as well. Despite it all though, they did own an impressive 12-9-1 record after allowing the first goal, and they faced that situation again trailing 1-0 entering the second.
The Bruins showed stronger signs of their best in the second period, though the Lightning continued to look better than their 18-23-4 record. It was thanks to Nathan Horton, who took command in the second that the B’s even managed to stay alive.
Horton scored two goals in the period for the Bruins, the first at 4:28 amidst a flurry of shots. He glided across the Lightning goal firing a couple of shots deflected by the goalie Mathieu Garon, eventually scoring to tie the game 1-1.
The Lightning skating was impressive against Boston, not looking like a team that had lost 7 games in a row coming in. They attacked Thomas with a scary 3-on-1 down the ice led by Lacavalier, Steven Stamkos, and Martin St. Louis, but the Bruins goaltender denied their efforts while falling into the net.
The Lightning did take the lead though when Tom Pyatt pushed a goal past a diving Thomas in front of net. The mini melee in front of the net happened after the Bruins had another sloppy defensive breakdown, but they made up for it when Nathan Horton delivered again. He scored his second goal of the game following a face off win and recovered rebound. The game remained tied 2-2 at the close of the period.
The Lightning grabbed their third lead of the night when Dominic Moore fired a shot that redirected past Tim Thomas. The goal was credited to Ryan Malone as the Bruins found themselves in need of some late drama in order to pull out a win.
Daniel Paille had missed a chance at a breakaway earlier in the contest, but wasn’t going to miss again. While the B’s were shorthanded, Paille snatched the puck at center ice and skated alone towards net after the Lightning mishandled it. He fired a shot past Garon, tying the game in dramatic fashion.
After a unsportsmanlike diving call was made against Tyler Seguin costed the Bruins a power play, the Lightning jumped back on top when Moore got a slap shot by Tim Thomas. The Bruins defense was lackluster throughout the entire game to say the least, but perhaps this simple offensive play orchestrated by Tampa Bay was representative of the whole night.
The Bruins looked like an entirely different team in what would end up a 5-3 loss to the Lightning, who snapped their seven-game losing streak impressively. All around the defense was the problem, from turnovers in their own zone to Tim Thomas in net, who looked as bad as he’s looked all season.
The team will finish their road trip in New Jersey on Thursday night.