Tampa Bay Lightning suffers first regulation loss in a month to the Boston Bruins

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered their first regulation loss in a month as they fell 4-1 to the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden in Boston.

The Tampa Bay Lightning seems to be making history every time they hit the ice. On February 21, Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov netted his 100th point of the season in what would become a rather interesting contest between the Bolts and the Buffalo Sabres.

Just a few nights later, the Lightning would pick up their 100th point of the season with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Los Angeles Kings at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. Needless to say, this is an incredibly exciting season for the Bolts and their fans.

This brings us to tonight. The Lightning had an opportunity to make history yet again. As the Bolts made their way into the TD Garden in Boston, they had an opportunity to become the fastest team in NHL history to 50 wins in a season if they could find a way to overcome the big, bad, (and red hot) Boston Bruins.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Despite the best efforts of Lightning netminder Louis Domingue, it was simply not meant to be. The Lightning would suffer their first regulation loss in a month by the score of 4-1 at the hands of the Bruins. Here’s a closer look at how things played out on the ice.

If there is anything you can count on when these two teams face each other it’s physicality. It didn’t take long at all before hands were being thrown on the ice. After getting checked from behind, David Backes took exception and lashed out against Lightning forward Adam Erne. Both players would get five minutes for Fighting.

In the second half of the first period, Bruins forward Brad Marchand was up to no good once again as he tried really hard to get under the skin of Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman. The good news here is the Lightning didn’t allow Marchand’s antics to get under their skin and distract them from the task at hand.

Regrettably, the Bruins controlled the pace for much of the first period. The Lightning was outshot 17-4 in the first 20 minutes of play. The only real bright side to this is the Bruins were unable to pierce the veil of Louis Domingue. Of course, this wasn’t for a lack of trying.

The Lightning really needed to pick up the pace in the second period. In the early moments of the second period, the Lightning got away with one as the stick of Braydon Coburn caught the mask of David Krejci. The referees failed to make a call and Krejci was none too pleased about it.

The Bruins definitely weren’t happy about what happened next. The Bolts would pick up the first Power Play of the game as Bruins captain Zdeno Chara made his way to the sin bin for Cross-Checking Lightning forward Tyler Johnson from behind. Unfortunately, the Bolts failed to make something of their opportunity. In fact, the Bolts didn’t even manage to get a single shot on goal during their man advantage.

Next, it would be the Bruins who would get the chance with the man advantage. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman would head to the box for two minutes for Interference against Jake DeBrusk. Ironically enough, it would be DeBrusk who would strike first blood and give the Bruins the lead.

When the buzzer would sound to end the second period, it would be painfully apparent the Lightning is playing tired. The Bolts were outshot 15-5 in the second for a two-period total of 32-9. No, you didn’t read that incorrectly…the Bolts were outshot 32-9 through two periods.

In the Lightning’s defense, tonight’s battle with the Bruins is game number three in four nights. Coming up against a team like the Bruins in the final game of that stretch is no easy feat. The fact the Bolts were only down one goal in the first two periods says a lot about the team as a whole.

The Bolts seemed to pick up some steam in the opening moments of the third period. The Lightning would pick up more shots on goal in the first three minutes of the third than they had in the entire first period. The question became, would it be enough to get back on top against the Bruins?

Much to the dismay of those of us here in the Bolts Nation, this would be too lofty a goal for a tired Tampa Bay Lightning team. The Bolts seemed to be back in the game until just after the halfway point in the third period. It was then the Bruins would score not one, not two, but three goals in the span of one minute and 28 seconds.

After the third goal in the stretch, a visibly frustrated Louis Domingue snapped his stick on the ice in what Mike Milbury referred to as a “hissy fit.” I wasn’t aware we were back in kindergarten, but it is what it is. In any case, the Lightning was looking at a very dismal end to a rather trying game.

On the bright side, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask would not leave the TD Garden with a shutout. Less than a minute after the goal from Marchand, Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli would pick up his 13th goal of the season to get the Bolts on the board. Ondrej Palat would pick up the lone assist on the goal.

Not long after the goal from Cirelli, Victor Hedman would make his way to the box for the third time tonight as he was whistled for Hooking against Charlie Coyle. It could definitely be argued the unnecessary penalties seriously adversely affected the Bolts tonight against the Bruins.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Lightning would fall 4-1 to the Boston Bruins. The Bolts sure picked a choice night to stumble. Tonight’s game was the first time in NHL history where two teams with 14-plus game point streaks would come face-to-face with one another. It was also the first regulation loss for the Bolts in a month’s time.

As disheartening as this loss is, there isn’t a whole lot of blame to be thrown around here. Tonight’s game is the third game the Bolts have played in four nights. Let’s not even mention the fact the Bolts came into tonight’s contest on the back half of a back-to-back. The team is exhausted and it showed.

For the most part, Louis Domingue was outstanding tonight. Before the floodgates opened in the third period, Domingue had stopped all but one of the Bruins’ 34 shots on goal. The 26-year-old netminder ended the night stopping 37 of 41 shots on goal for a Save Percentage of .902.

The good news is, the loss doesn’t really hurt the Bolts a whole lot. Well…except for their pride. The Lightning still leads the entire NHL with 102 points. Sadly, the Lightning doesn’t have a whole lot of time to recover from the loss. In fact, they have just a little over 24 hours to bounce back.

On Saturday night, the Lightning will return home to the Amalie Arena to take on the Ottawa Senators. This could prove to be a much less stressful game than the Bolts endured tonight in Boston. The Senators are last in the Atlantic Division (and the league) with 49 points.

At the same time, the Bolts need to come into this game ready to play. When a team heads into a game underestimating their opponent, no matter how bad of a season they’ve been having, it ends up being a much more difficult night than it needs to be. After a loss like this one, the Bolts need a win to get back on track.

Next. Tampa Bay Lightning Can Write Their Own Story. dark

The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 p.m. against the Senators at 401 Channelside. Here’s hoping the Tampa Bay Lightning has some time to rest, recoup, and refocus before heading home for Saturday’s contest.