Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
Johnson’s Two Goals Not Enough to Beat Bruins
Following two 6-1 games, one where the Rangers scored six goals on the Lightning and the other where the Lightning scored six on the Islanders the Bolts return home. In their first game back at Amalie Arena following a six game road trip which started very good in Ottawa with a 4-1 win. Then in the second game of the road trip the Lightning were able to score three goals in the first period against Toronto. Twice on the road trip the Lightning were able to notch three goal first periods (Toronto and Islanders). Those were the only games the Bolts were able to notch at least one goal or more in the first period. One could point the finger at numerous aspects of the Lightning’s game lately that have caused them issues. While on the road trip the Lightning’s penalty kill was off the charts allowing only two goals on 20 attempts. Their power play wasn’t as bad as one would think going 7-26 with two power play goals against Ottawa, Toronto, and the Islanders. Tonight they played the Boston Bruins who placed Tuukka Rask in net (5-0 in last 5 starts). The Lightning called on Andrei Vasilevskiy who is 2-1-0 in three games this season.
Neither Lightning goalie has been able to keep a consistent trend going this season, but they both have winning records (Bishop 4-3 in 7 games.) Boston had three shots on Vasilevskiy before the Lightning were able to register their first one. Boston was able to strike relatively early in the game following a clean face off win by Boston in Tampa Bay’s defensive zone. 19-year-old Brandon Carlo was able to slip a shot past Vasilevskiy. It appeared Vasilevskiy while it was a huge opening, Carlo had just enough for his second goal of the season as the puck slid between Vasilevskiy and the left post. Just about seven minutes later while on a four-minute power play by J.T. Brown for high sticking the Bruins would strike again. Down a man the Lightning did the best they could as Boston used crisp passing in their offensive zone to get a beautiful goal from Ryan Spooner. After the Lightning challenged that the play was off sides the linesmen would not find enough proof to overturn the call on the ice. At 14:07 Adam McQuaid would get a high sticking call of his own, this one though was only for two minutes unlike Brown’s earlier penalty. One minute later Victor Hedman would get his second goal of the season off a nice slap shot. The final moments would tick off the clock as the Lightning while trailing were able to notch a goal in the first period.
The Lightning would look to carry over the momentum from the first period into the second. Early on The Bolts would pressure the Bruins in the Lightning’s offensive zone which would result in a goal…or so the fans in attendance thought. Ondrej Palat who would “score” the goal wouldn’t celebrate following the goal as the linesmen went to review the goal. A few minutes’ pass as the head linesmen would come out and say that due to a distinct kicking motion the goal by Palat has been ruled a no goal. Minutes later Boston would cause their own pressure / mayhem in front of Vasilevskiy resulting in a David Pasternak goal once again four minutes into the 2nd period to regain a two goal lead. Four minutes after that Tyler Johnson would make a beautiful top shelf shot to get the puck past Rask as the Lightning cut the lead back to one goal. The lightning at that point in the second are 2-2 on the power play. Coming into tonight’s game they ranked fourth in the NHL with the man advantage. Tampa bay with 14 hits compared to four from the Bruins have clearly been the more physical team through a period and a half. A perfect power play wouldn’t last the rest of the game. With only a few short minutes’ left in the second period Tampa bay would finally have a no goal power play during this game. That shift didn’t feel quite like the other two. It felt as Boston kept the Bolts at arm’s length not allowing them to get good enough shots on Rask. Stamkos had an opportunity from his favorite spot, but instead decided to pass the puck. Stamkos passing more than shooting has been a hot topic for Lightning fans in recent years. As the teams headed to the second intermission Boston would hold a 3-2 lead. Fisticuffs would partially ensue as Callahan and McQuaid would start a shoving match as the period came to an end.
Tampa Bay would take one lead in the third period…..shots on goal. Near the mid-way point the Lightning would do a good job keeping shots away from Vasilevskiy. With five shots on goal Tampa would continue pushing to try to tie the game up before it was too late. Mid-way through the 3rd period Tyler Johnson would tally his second goal of the night and fourth of the season. Tampa and Boston would trade scoring chances through the rest of the second period neither team able to gain an advantage. Nikita Kucherov who’s play came alive during the six game road trip got robbed late in the period attempting to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead. Time would tick off the clock as both teams would head to three on three overtime. Tampa would survive an offensive onslaught from Boston following a penalty to Ondrej Palat. With seconds left on the clock Ryan Callahan would get the puck out of the zone as both teams would head to the shootout.
In the opening moments of the overtime period the Lightning would solely control the puck with Stamkos, Kucherov and Hedman on the ice. David Krejci would get a hooking call that the Lightning were unable to convert on. The shootout would go on for 10 total rounds due to goals from Brayden Point and Riley Nash, but it was Jimmy Hayes who would end the game and give Boston a 4-3 victory.
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star – Patrice Bergeron (Center BOS): Two assists on the night helping the Bruins put up more than the two goals a game average they’ve had recently.
2nd Star – Victor Hedman (D TBL): Gets a great power play goal while getting almost 30 minutes of ice time.
1st Star – Tyler Johnson (C TBL): Two goals on the night, the final one tying the game up in the 3rd period.