The Boston Bruins entered today’s game with their backs against the wall. Down 3-1 in the series to the Lightning, could this be the last game of the season? Short answer, yes.
The Boston Bruins were in a do or die situation in today’s game. But, for the most part, you couldn’t tell from the way they played the majority of the game. Not much had changed from the losses in Games two through four. Same mistakes and scoring seemed impossible for those wearing the spoked B.
The Lightning took care of business at home and finished off what seemed to be a weaker Boston Bruins team. Hard to win a game, let alone a series, when you can’t score an even-strength goal.
There was hope that the Bruins would come out skating hard, knowing their backs are against the wall. That wasn’t the case. Tampa had solid scoring chances early on and the Bruins even iced it three times in the first two and a half minutes. The Lightning yet again came out stronger and ready to play.
The first powerplay of the game went to Tampa. Fortunately, the Bruins were able to kill it off and started to actually wake up. So it seemed. Again, the refs made their presence known in the game. Tampa went back on the powerplay. Again, the Bruins killed it off and the game stayed scoreless.
David Backes, Sean Kuraly, and Jake DeBrusk generated some quality offensive zone time, working below the goal line. That hard shift led to the Bruins’ first powerplay with just about three minutes left in the period. That quickly turned into a 5 on 3 in which the Bruins had some quality chances. Tampa kept composure, but wouldn’t be able to hold off Boston’s strong powerplay.
Bruins took a 1-0 lead into the second, outshooting the Lightning 9-7.
Not much to say about the first half of the second. There was a handful of shots on both sides and the Lightning continued to skate fast, pressuring the Bruins in their own zone. Boston continued to struggle to hold on to the puck and breaking through the neutral zone.
With 9:17 remaining, Brayden Point ties the game at one apiece. Another poor attempt getting the puck out, led to a turnover and a goal. All too familiar for the Bruins this series.
David Backes took a big hit from J.T. Miller and was helped to the locker room. The two appeared to have head-to-head contact and he would not return. A few minutes later, Patrice Bergeron was called for a trip. And, just like that, Tampa took the lead on the powerplay. J.T. Miller put the Lightning up 2-1 with exactly six minutes remaining in the period.
Tampa Bay took a 2-1 lead into third with shots tied at 14.
The Bruins season came down to these final twenty minutes. The game continued in the usual trend. Some offense generated by the Bruins, but lacking serious scoring chances and defensive breakdowns giving Tampa life and quality chances to put this game to bed. At the midway point, the game was still 2-1 Tampa.
A lot of back and forth throughout the period. Bruins were pushing the tempo, but Tampa came right back. With about four minutes left, Boston had another powerplay opportunity. They could not come up with the goal they needed.
Tuukka Rask went to the bench with 1:33 remaining and an offensive zone face-off. Tampa won the face-off fired it the length of the ice into the back of the net. And that was all she wrote.
The Boston Bruins season came to end. There may be a lot of emotions right now, but the Bruins were outplayed. The better team won this game and won the series.