I would not call this a failed effort; however, there are some things that need work, but we’ll get to that later.
The period started out slow for both teams. At 11:39 in the first period the Bruins would open up the scoring when Bruins center Chris Kelly was awarded a penalty shot. Unfortunately, Lindback wasn’t able to hold on and the Bruins would score, making it 1-0 Bruins.
There was definitely no shortage of penalties in the first 20 minutes.
The first came at the hand of the Lightning at just 2:32. Matt Carle was given 2 minutes in the box for Interference against Daniel Paille. Next one would be on the Bruins. At 10:12 right wing Reilly Smith was called for 2 minutes for a Hook to Alex Killorn.
At 18:04 the penalties started to pile up. The first of which was on Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid for a Cross Check to Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen. That penalty would be followed by 2 more, one to Lightning left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie and the other to Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton each for 5 minutes each for fighting as a result of their throw down on the ice. The good news is, I am pretty positive that Nacho won that fight. So there’s that.
In case you missed it, here is a look at that fight.
The last penalty of the period would come at 18:11 when Bruins center Gregory Campbell was called for 2 minutes for Delay of Game. This would give the Bolts the 5 on 3. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize.
There wasn’t a whole lot of action in the first ten minutes of the second period. Well…scoring action that is.
There was quite the scuffle between Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas and Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla. Apparently Iggy took exception to the hard hit that Gudas laid on him, and at 9:06 they dropped the gloves and went at it. Both players received 5 minute majors for fighting.
At 10:32, newly acquired center Valtteri Filppula broke open the scoring for the Lightning. He was able to fire one past Rask unassisted tying the score up at 1-1.
However, the Bolts couldn’t celebrate for long. With just 1 minute left in the period, Milan Lucic was able to find the back of the net with the assist from center David Krejci, putting the Bruins back on top. The assists on the Lucic goal would go to Bruins center David Krejci.
The Bruins kicked off the scoring early in the third period.
The Bolts fought hard, but to no avail.
Unfortunately, this pretty much sealed the deal for the Boston Bruins. The Lightning would ultimately fall to the Boston Bruins by the score of 3-1 in the Season Opener.
Now, I don’t think that tonight was a total loss. While there are definitely some things that the Lightning need to work on, there were a lot of positives as well.
In the first period, the Bolts outshot the Bruins 15-6. That’s pretty much a 2:1 ratio for the Bolts. By the second period, they increased that total to 23-15 through 40 minutes of play. The Bolts would end the game with the Shots on Goal being 33-25 Lightning. So you can see that the offense is putting their best foot forward.
Let’s be real here, though. Tuukka Rask is a top tier goalie, and it is going to be no easy task to get over on him. If you ask my opinion, I think the Bolts held their own in that arena tonight. I was happy to see Valtteri Filppula get one in on his regular season debut with the Lightning.
The Bolts were also able to pull off a very physical game. The Bruins are a very tough team who like to bully people in front of the net. I feel like the Bolts were able to push back, hold their own, and let it be known that the days of us being pushed around like rag dolls is over.
There are two improvements that I would like to see happen before we roll into Chicago on Saturday.
First of all, the defense needs to do a better job of clearing the puck and getting in front of shots. In the third period tonight, we spent way too much time in our defensive zone; time that we could have spent putting shots on goal. That definitely needs to change.
Secondly, I would like to see goaltender Anders Lindback work on his situational awareness. Two of the three goals that he allowed tonight should not have gone in; more specifically the one from Patrice Bergeron in the third period. The puck went straight through Lindback’s legs and into the net before he even knew what happened.
I know that no goaltender is perfect, and I am not placing 100% of the blame from tonight’s loss on him; however, that is definitely something that he needs to work on.
The Lightning has a rough road ahead of them. In the newly formed Atlantic Division, they are going to be squaring off with some of the most top tier teams in the league, and they are really going to have to be on their game if they want to find themselves in the picture for the post season this year.
Next up, the Tampa Bay Lightning will travel to the United Center in Chicago to go one-on-one with the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? What do you think the Bolts did well? What do you think they could have done better? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!