Tampa Bay Lightning fights back to defeat Boston Bruins 5-4

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Tampa Bay Lightning came back from three unanswered goals to score three unanswered goals of their own to defeat the Boston Bruins 5-4 in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Lightning made their way home to the Amalie Arena tonight to take on one of the toughest Atlantic Division opponents in the Boston Bruins. There is definitely no love lost between these two teams or the fans of these teams. The good news here is, it always makes for an exciting night of hockey.

The Bolts got down to business early against the Bruins. The Lightning offense was incredibly aggressive, spending a lot of time in the Bruins zone. This is the exact kind of play the Bolts Nation wanted to see from the Bolts heading into tonight’s game.

The Lightning’s offensive persistence paid off for them in the early moments of the first period. At 6:42 in the first period, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos would pick up his 40th goal of the season to give the Bolts the early advantage. Stamkos is the second player to hit the 40-goal mark this season. Lightning forward Brayden Point picked up his 40th goal on Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Regrettably, the Lightning’s advantage wouldn’t last long. At 7:28 in the period, Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov would make his way to the sin bin after a rather weak Hooking call. The Bruins would capitalize on their opportunity and tie the game with a goal from Bruins forward Brad Marchand.

It became quickly apparent that Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper was working hard to get the Bolts back out in front. It wasn’t long before Cooper started double shifting Nikita Kucherov. If Kucherov keeps plugging away and well, being Kuch, it won’t be long before he’s the next player to hit the 40-goal mark on the team.

Speaking of Coach Cooper, tonight is a special night for the Bolts bench boss. Tonight’s game marks the 6th Anniversary of the night Jon Cooper officially became the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. What better way to spend a night like this than with 20,000-plus of your closest friends and family?

As the period continued on, it was clear the Lightning wanted to seize control of the game once again. Just before the 15-minute mark in the period, the captain would hit the back of the net once again to give the Bolts a one-goal lead over the Bruins.

In each and every day a little rain must fall. The rain came pouring down in the late moments of the first period. It all started when J.T. Miller made his way to the box after being whistled for Hooking against Bruins forward Danton Heinen.

Less than a minute into the Miller penalty, another player in blue would make their way to the sin bin. This time, it would be Lightning forward Alex Killorn who would go off after being called for two minutes for Tripping against Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron.

This would give the Bruins just over a minute in a 5-on-3 situation before finishing off the period on the Power Play. The good news here is the Lightning was able to hold strong and kill off the penalty to Miller. When the buzzer sounded to end the first period, the Bolts would still have around 32 seconds left on the penalty to Killorn.

One of the keys to the game in our preview of tonight’s game was the defense. The Bolts were certainly defensively strong in the first 20 minutes of play. The Lightning defense was able to limit the Bruins to a mere four shots on goal in the first period. No, you do not need to adjust your monitor. You read that right.

The Lightning took a bit of a hit in the first period, losing yet another player to injury. Bolts forward Ondrej Palat was absolutely nailed along the boards in the early moments of the first period. He quickly made his way off the ice, looking worse for wear. As of the start of the 2nd period, Palat still had not made his return to the ice.

The Bolts finally got a call in the second period, after the referees let so very many potential penalties go in the first 20 minutes of play. Bruins forward Karson Kuhlman would get the call to the sin bin for Holding against Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. Unfortunately, the Lightning wouldn’t be able to make anything come of their opportunity with the man advantage.

The Bruins, on the other hand, we able to swing momentum their direction and quickly seize control of the game. It started with a goal from Bruins forward Charlie Coyle at 8:42 in the second. After the Coyle goal, things went to hell in a handbasket for the Bolts rather quickly.

The Bruins would score not one, but two goals in just over a minute. The first of these goals would come off the stick of defenseman Brandon Carlo, who picked up his second goal of the season. The second would come from Brad Marchand, who picked up his 34th goal of the season and second of the evening.

One of the most frustrating things about this situation is that it is simple mistakes, which were completely avoidable, that led to the current state of affairs for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Granted, there was still plenty of hockey left to play at this point, but it’s never fun playing catchup against a team like the Bruins.

In the final two minutes of the second period, the Lightning had a tremendous scoring opportunity. Lightning forward J.T. Miller would fire off a bomb towards Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The goal horn would sound, but the puck never actually crossed the line.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

The puck hit one crossbar, shot across the line, and ricocheted out of the net. There is no denying, the sound of the goal post clanging is one of the worst sounds in the entire world. Especially when you’re in the position the Lightning are right now with the Boston Bruins.

If you look solely at the stat sheet, one would think the Lightning were controlling the pace of the game as well as the leader board. Unfortunately, this couldn’t have been further from the truth at this point in the evening. When the buzzer sounded to end the second period, the Lightning would trail the Bruins 4-2.

The second intermission couldn’t possibly have come at a better time for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The break afforded them the opportunity to sit back and take a look at some of the mistakes that led them to where they currently found themselves. It also gave them a moment to rest and reset before having to take the ice.

Much to the excitement of the Bolts Nation, the Tampa Bay Lightning wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. In fact, the Lightning came into the third period ready to battle in an effort to snatch the game right out of the hands of the Boston Bruins.

Steven Stamkos would enter the zone on a breakaway. Stammer would try awfully hard to get his third goal of the night, but he just couldn’t put the puck in the back of the net. Victor Hedman, on the other hand, was really sneaky. Hedman quickly got a hold of the rebound from behind the net and sent the puck sliding into the net on the glove side of Tuukka Rask.

It wasn’t until after the 13-minute mark in the period before the Lightning would strike once again. Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy would make a save and send the puck heading in the opposite direction. This is where it would be picked up by Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos would send the puck forward to Nikita Kucherov, who was ready to quickly escort the puck into the offensive zone. Kucherov wasted little to no time in firing the puck toward the glove side of Rask. Just like that, the puck was in the back of the net and the Lightning had officially tied the game.

At this point in the game, the Lightning had turned on the offensive pressure once again. The Lightning knew they would have to lay everything on the line if they wanted to retake control of the game and come home with another two points.

There was less than one minute left in the game when the Lightning essentially secured their victory. Lightning forward Anthony Cirelli would pick up his 18th goal of the season and would officially put the Lightning out in front of the Bruins.

Of course, the job wasn’t done there. Anyone who has ever watched a high-powered game like the one that took place at the Amalie Arena tonight knows, a lot can happen in just one minute. Regrettably for the Bruins, they would get caught creeping and got called to the box.

Final. 4. 70. 5. 23

Brad Marchand was whistled for Interference as he blatantly smacked the stick out of the hand of Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak. In true Marchand fashion, he protested furiously after the officials made the call. Thankfully, the officials didn’t back down and Marchand would spend the final 39 seconds of the game in the sin bin.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Lightning would take control of the season series with a 5-4 victory over the Boston Bruins. Much like the Bruins in the second period, the Bolts would have three unanswered goals in the third period, the final being the game winner.

Nine different Lightning players would make their way to the scoresheet against the Bruins in one capacity or another. Of those nine players, three players would have a multi-point night. Victor Hedman would pick up both a goal and an assist, Mikhail Sergachev would score a pair of assists, and then there was the captain.

Steven Stamkos would score two goals and two assists for a total of four points.

Another person who had a history-making night is Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy needed a mere three saves in tonight’s encounter to pass the record set by former Lightning goalie Ben Bishop and set yet another franchise record for the Bolts.

Despite the new franchise record, the numbers weren’t exactly in Vasy’s favor tonight. Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 17 shots on goal by the Bruins. This gave Vasy a Save Percentage of .765. At the same time, Andrei Vasilevskiy continues to lead the NHL in wins. We’ll take a bad night every now and then for a goalie like that.

As the Lightning prepares to enter the final week of the regular season, the Bolts will finally get a short break. The Lightning will have the next four days off before they hit the ice for the final home game of the 2018-19 season where they will face the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Washington Capitals, for the final time.

The Lightning essentially has nothing to lose at this point, yet they continue to lay everything out on the line each and every game. This is the kind of hockey fans long for each and every season. There is absolutely no denying, it is a tremendous time to be a Tampa Bay Lightning fan.

Related Story. Ondrej Palat Forced To Leave Game With An Upper-Body Injury. light

As we mentioned previously, the Bolts get back to business on Saturday night as they take on the Washington Capitals in the final home game of the season. The puck is set to drop at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. This is the last time the Bolts Nation will see the Bolts in the regular season. We’re sure it’s going to be one heck of a night of hockey.