A home match against the East's 12th-place club. Back-to-back wins entering the night. A netminder who had let in only one goal in his last two games.
For all that, the Bruins saw virtually every mistake they made end up in the back of their net, as they dropped a 5-3 game to the Lightning before 17,565 at TD Garden last night. The Bruins put 50 shots on goal.
The Bruins, down 3-1 halfway through the second, made it a one-goal game at 10:42. David Krejci walked the puck off the boards and into the middle of the ice, waiting for the play to develop. Krejci saw Johnny Boychuk jumping up in the play and gave the defenseman the puck. Boychuk snapped a wrist shot through Antero Niittymaki. cutting Tampa's lead to 3-2.
But Blake Wheeler took an offensive-zone interference penalty at 17:54 that came back to bite the Bruins. With 26 seconds remaining in the period, Steven Stamkos set up in his office on the left side, took a feed from Kurtis Foster, and cranked a sizzling one-timer through Tuukka Rask to give the Lightning a 4-2 edge. It was the game-winning goal.
The Lightning took a two-goal lead in the first period by crashing the net on both strikes. Steve Downie, stickhandling along the left-side wall, spotted Stamkos sprinting toward the far post. With Mark Stuart and Dennis Wideman sagging on the play, Downie connected with a streaking Stamkos, and the second-year NHLer found the back of the net at 0:49 of the first.
Tampa doubled its lead after Dennis Seidenberg and Michael Ryder botched a breakout along the right-side boards. With Seidenberg and Ryder caught going the wrong way, Vincent Lecavalier gained control of the puck and broke the other way. As the Bruins hustled to get back on defense, Martin St. Louis drove to the net, took Lecavalier's feed, and tapped the puck past Rask at 18:05.
The Bruins kicked off a comeback in the final minute of the first. With Stuart (elbowing) and Downie (elbowing) in the box, the Bruins scored a four-on-four goal at 19:33. While stickhandling inside the offensive blue line, Krejci spun, bought some time for Zdeno Chara to attack the net, then spotted the captain in the slot for the tap-in, making it a 2-1 game.
All done at the Garden. Lightning, 5-3.
19:03 3d period: Lightning 5-3
Antero Niittymaki with a clinic on Mark Recchi, Milan Lucic, and David Krejci.
17:53 3d period: Lightning 5-3
A late Lewie on the Lightning. Tuukka Rask off for extra skater.
14:43 3d period: Lightning 5-3
Antero Niittymaki gets a glove on Zdeno Chara's second chance.
11:50 3d period: Lightning 5-3
Mark Recchi shovels in the puck from in front of the net. A rally?
7:20 3d period: Lightning 5-2
Interference on Andrej Meszaros.
3:28 3d period: Lightning 5-2
Mark Stuart off for tripping Mark Parrish.
3:00 3d period: Lightning 5-2
Paul Szczechura scores his second of the night, this time on the power play.
1:22 3d period: Lightning 4-2
Dennis Wideman off for kneeing Steve Downie.
20:00 2d period: Lightning 4-2
Blake Wheeler penalty comes back to bite Bruins late in second.
19:34 2d period: Lightning 4-2
Steven Stamkos blows a one-timer right through Tuukka Rask. Stamkos can bring it with that hammer.
17:54 2d period: Lightning 3-2
Blake Wheeler called for offensive-zone interference on Steven Stamkos. Not a timely penalty.
11:43 2d period: Lightning 3-2
Michael Ryder drives to the net and draws a tripping call on Andrej Meszaros. First PP of the night.
10:42 2d period: Lightning 3-2
Johnny Boychuk takes an in-stride pass from David Krejci and beats Antero Niittymaki. More sublime playmaking by Krejci, cutting into the middle of the ice to let the play develop.
6:50 2d period: Lightning 3-1
After Tuukka Rask and Johnny Boychuk flub a clear behind the net, Paul Szczechura beats the netminder. Rask's weak point is playing the puck.
3:46 2d period: Lightning 2-1
Post-whistle grappling between Mark Recchi and Victor Hedman. Recchi had been tussling with Mike Lundin in front of the net.
2:58 2d period: Lightning 2-1
Kurtis Foster down on the ice. Felled by a Shawn Thornton check into the boards. Foster skates off slowly. No penalty.
20:00 1st period: Lightning 2-1
Bruins with a 19-8 shot advantage through 20 minutes.
19:33 1st period: Lightning 2-1
David Krejci spins, buys some time for Zdeno Chara to attack the net, then spots the captain in the slot for the tap-in. Clever work by Krejci.
18:52 1st period: Lightning 2-0
Mark Stuart (roughing) and Steve Downie (elbowing) go off.
18:05 1st period: Lightning 2-0
After Dennis Seidenberg and Michael Ryder botch a breakout, Vincent Lecavalier goes the other way and finds Martin St. Louis in front for the tap-in.
15:55 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Partial break by Marco Sturm after Zdeno Chara foils a Teddy Purcell chance.
12:30 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Couple chances for Teddy Purcell after a Zdeno Chara giveaway.
11:33 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Steve Begin deflects a Dennis Wideman shot, then falls onto Antero Niittymaki. More good work from the veteran center.
7:45 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Fireworks between Andrew Ference and Steve Downie. Ference drops the mitts, but Downie keeps them on. Play continues.
4:50 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Steve Begin flattens Mark Parrish. Begin playing with far more jam lately.
3:01 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Marco Sturm, with speed, gets a shot on goal that slips under Antero Niittymaki. But the netminder recovers and keeps the puck from going in.
0:49 1st period: Lightning 1-0
Steve Downie spots a streaking Steven Stamkos for the easy tap-in at the far post. Bruins caught sagging on the play.
0:00 1st period: 0-0
Matt Hunwick and Brad Marchand are the healthy scratches.