Coming off of a 2-0 victory in Buffalo last night, the Tampa Bay Lightning sought to close out their four-game road trip on a high note.
Wednesday night marked the first of four meetings between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Playing in their fourth game in the last six days, the Lightning showed signs of fatigue.
Not enough pressure
Boston goaltender Tuuka Rask has been under a lot of scrutiny so far this season. Entering tonight’s contest the net-minder had just three wins for the Bruins in 2017. In fact, many people in Massachusetts have been calling for more Anton Khudobin.
The best cure for a struggling goalie – face a struggling offense.
After such a hot start to the season offensively, one that Jon Cooper recently likened to those of the 1980’s, the Lightning have cooled over their last six games. Including Tuesday night’s 2-0 win over Buffalo.
The Bolts scored 2-or-fewer goals in all four games on the recent road trip. And both of Tampa’s goals against the Sabres came off the stick of a defenseman.
So yes, the offense has been struggling of late.
Against the Bruins, the offense only managed five shots on goal during the first period. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t face a lot of tough shots. However, a 43/57 disadvantage on the face-off does not bode well for a team playing the table-end of a back-to-back for the second time in four days.
Boston scored 2 goals in the first period. The first, a screened goal by Charlie McAvoy at the 7:27 mark. A goal that was originally waived off for goalie interference, challenged by Boston, and ultimately giving the Bruins the lead.
The second goal was a wrist shot by Riley Nash which was blasted over Vasilevskiy’s left shoulder.
Spark but no electricity
The Lightning made some changes to their scoring lines after the one-sided first period. Penalties, however, were the key to the beginning of the second period. After each team was assessed two-minute minors, Boston stretched its lead to three with a 4-on-4 marker by Torey Krug.
Tampa Bay got on the board at the 10:53 mark when defenseman Andrej Sustr picked up his first goal of the season. Tyler Johnson, who hasn’t scored a goal since October 24, thought he had ended the drought and tied the game, however, the Bruins benefited from another review.
Comeback falls short
Having watched defenseman score each of his teams previous three goals, Steven Stamkos took a pass from Nikita Kucherov, inside the left-circle, and brought Tampa Bay within a goal. The power-play goal gave the captain a league-leading 37 points so far this season. He also holds the top spot with eight power-play goals.
- TB has scored a PP goal in 21-of-25 games this season
- Stamkos ended a 3-game points drought with the goal
- Tampa ranks 2nd in NHL with 62 points by defenseman
Three Stars of the Game
3rd Star – Tuukka Rask
2nd Star – Brad Marchand
1st Star – Charlie McAvoy
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