Bruins Get Lit Up by the Bolts, Lose 4-0 in Tampa Bay

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 3: Goalie Tuukka Rask
TAMPA, FL - APRIL 3: Goalie Tuukka Rask /

In a clash between the top 2 teams in the East, Tampa Bay shows Boston how dangerous they can be.

The Bruins and Lightning faced off for the final time during the season, and if the Bruins won, would have put a stranglehold on the top spot in the East.  That did not happen.  Tampa Bay returned the favor as they controlled the game tonight like the Bruins did in the first three meetings.  Even without Steven Stamkos, the Lightning were the better team for 60 minutes tonight and now both teams are tied at 110 points in the East.

Period 1:

Tampa Bay came out fast, as the majority of the chances early belonged to the hosts.  The Bolts first chance of the game came on a lob play from inside their defensive zone in which Nikita Kucherov stick lifted Zdeno Chara and got a shot in on Tuukka Rask.  Rask knocked aside Kucherov’s bid to keep the game knotted at 0.  Tampa kept the pressure on as after a few shots, a rebound kicked out to Nikita Kucherov with a wide open net.  But, at the last second, Patrice Bergeron robbed Kucherov with a great kick save, to keep Tampa off the board.

Danton Heinen was called for tripping, and even without Steven Stamkos in the lineup, a very dangerous Lightning powerplay took the ice.  Boston was able to kill off the powerplay, but Tampa was still in control of the play.  Away from the play, Brad Marchand, and Ryan McDonagh collided, knee on knee at the blue line, and Marchand was slow to get up.  An extremely concerning moment as Marchand limped back to the Bruins bench, but any fear was alleviated as he returned in the period.  David Krejci got tripped by Mikhail Sergachev, but they didn’t muster a shot on the man advantage.

Late in the frame, after some offensive pressure by the B’s, Patrice Bergeron rang the post, as the Bruins best chance of the period was just a few inches off.  As the period was about to expire, Pastrnak was whistled for tripping with 6 seconds remaining, and the B’s were shorthanded.  The intermission horn sounded, and both teams vacated the ice with the score the same as when we began 0-0, with Tampa beginning the period on the powerplay, and had an overall shot advantage 17-8.

Period 2:

The Bruins stifled the Tampa powerplay once again, and when Pasta left the penalty box, he even got a shorthanded bid but was stopped by Vasilevskiy.  Boston believed they scored the opening goal, courtesy of Brian Gionta, but the play was called back due to Gionta playing the puck with a high stick before the goal was scored.  After that call, Tampa Bay took over.  Brayden Point‘s long shot found the back of the net soon after the Gionta non-goal and the Lightning would take the lead.  Point’s shot is one you expect Rask to save, due to him being him so fundamentally sound, but this shot just slipped under his blocker.

The Bolts doubled their lead about 5 minutes later, as Victor Hedman‘s blast from the point found twine.  A great screen by Cedric Paquette took away Rask’s eyes and allowed Hedman’s shot to beat Rask low glove side.  The Lightning kept pouring shots on goal, and at one point had 30 shots during 30 minutes of play.  Tampa would add a third tally of the period, this time courtesy of Chris Kunitz who picked up a loose puck in the crease and banged the puck into the goal.  The play was challenged for goaltender interference, but the play stood, and we had a good hockey goal.  Tampa would take a late penalty in the frame, and if the Bruins had a chance of getting back into the game, they needed to score on the powerplay.

Period 3:

They did not convert on the powerplay, and the game was basically out of reach.  Already down 3-0, the Bruins needed a quick score for a glimmer of hope.  While the powerplay was their best chance after the man advantage expired, Boston did play better early in the period.  But, with possession of the puck in the offensive zone, Jake DeBrusk lost control of the puck in the slot and slipped down to the ice.  The Bolts had a 2 on 1 break and J.T. Miller sniped one short side on Rask, for a 4-0 lead and although there were more than 17 minutes left on the clock, this one was over.  After Boston dominated the previous three meetings between these teams this season, Tampa Bay came out and played inspired and desperate hockey and took it to the Bruins for the whole 60 minutes.

Next: Boston Bruins Week 26: Just Get Me To The Playoffs Edition

The Lightning finished off the shutout, and decisively beat the Bruins 4-0.

Short Shifts:

  • It was a rare no-show by the Bruins offense tonight, as they didn’t generate many great scoring chances outside of Bergeron’s post late in the 1st period and Gionta’s goal that was called back.
  • In his first game back from injury, Charlie McAvoy played 21:23 and was a -2 on the night.
  • It was announced prior to the game that Brand Carlo has a fractured ankle and will miss 3-4 months in what is a devastating way to end the season, as Carlo was playing his best hockey of the season and will miss another postseason.
  • Tonight was third game this season that the Bruins have lost by 4+ goals.  Other games were against Colorado on October 9th and Vancouver February 17th.
  • Back at it again Thursday night at Florida.
  • It is so crazy to me that NESN relegated the Bruins game to NESN Plus, which has huge playoff seeding implications, so they can air the Red Sox against the worst team in the league on the main channel.