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Lightning Within Two Points Of First-Place After Beating Bruins

While they may not have a fancy nickname, the line of Alex Killorn, Steven Stamkos, and Ryan Callahan have been piling up the points while the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to pile up the victories.

Callahan and had two goals and an assist, Killorn and Stamkos each had a goal and an assist, and Ben Bishop made 32 saves as the Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 for their sixth consecutive win.  With the victory, the Lightning took over sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division with 76 points, just two behind the first-place Florida Panthers. It also marked the first time in franchise history that Tampa Bay has won consecutive games in Boston.

The Lightning started the first period a bit slower than they have been in recent games, as Kevan Miller of the Bruins scored early on after an offensive zone face-off, giving the Bruins the 1-0 lead. Zac Rinaldo caught Cedric Paquette with an illegal check to the head, causing Paquette to exit the game for a short time before returning later on. On the ensuing power play, Killorn took advantage, scoring his 12th of the year to tie the game 1-1. Andrej Sustr was later called for holding, but the Bolts were able to kill of the penalty. Soon after, Adam McQuaid fell down before he could set anything up for the Bruins, leading to a turnover which saw Killorn and Callahan end up with a 2-on-0 break. A couple of passes got Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask out of position, and left Callahan with a wide-open net, giving the lightning a 2-1 lead. The Lightning were on point and their passing was tape-to-tape for the rest of the period. Bishop was also dialed in, making some big saves in the opening period. Right before the intermission, JT Brown was called for hooking, and Boston was set to start the second period with the man-advantage.

The Bruins three shots on that power play to open the second period, but no goals to show for it. Killorn was called for holding and Boston got another three shots on a man-advantage, but there weren’t any holes in Bishop. Patrice Bergeron was called for interference and the Tampa Bay power play was at it again, with Stamkos blasting a shot that was deflected in by Ryan Callahan, making it 3-1 in favor of Tampa Bay. Later on in the period, there was a sequence where off-setting minor penalties were given to Ondrej Palat for hooking, and Zdeno Chara for embellishment. A defensive breakdown by the Bruins led to Stamkos getting a breakaway, where he was taken down, earning a penalty shot. Stamkos converted on the opportunity, extending his goal scoring streak to six games, and giving the Lightning a 4-1 edge. As the period was coming to an end, the Bolts began to play a more conservative game to contain their lead. Paquette returned to the ice in the second period after going through the NHL’s concussion protocol after the Rinaldo hit.

Maintaining their lead was the name of the game for Tampa Bay going into the third period. While their primary goal was to keep the Bruins at bay, they were still playing aggressively and spending time in the offensive zone. The Lightning got a scare when Tyler Johnson was stuck against the boards and took a puck to the forehead and suffered a cut during an attempted clearing attempt by the Bruins. Johnson was bleeding profusely and did not return. The Bruins got a late power play as Paquette was called for hooking, but the Tampa Bay penalty kill was perfect tonight, and gave Boston nothing to work with. The Bruins were applying pressure on the Lightning late, but could not put another puck past Bishop as Tampa Bay cruised to the victory.

The Lightning will be back in action Monday February 29th against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30

THREE STARS OF THE GAME

3rd Star: Alex Killorn – Had a power play goal and assisted on one of Callahan’s goals. Killorn was up and down the ice all night and has been playing his best hockey since moving back onto the top line with Stamkos and Callahan.

2nd Star: Ryan Callahan – Had two goals on the night, including the game winner, while adding an assist. Much like Killorn, Callahan looked great all night at both ends of the ice.

1st Star: Ben Bishop – He let an early goal in and had enough of that. With 32 saves, Bishop was almost perfect and made clutch saves when his team needed him to. Follow Stephen on Twitter

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