Instead of getting mired down in another loss, let’s look at the positive. The Lightning had their strongest first period in recent memory. They converted on the power play twice in the first period. Mathieu Garon stopped 24 shots. Alex Killorn had a hell of a game in his return to Boston. There were definite positives, but the end result remained the same with a loss in regulation.
The first period had all of the fire the Bolts were lacking against the Rangers. Fast on the puck, physical, and went to work quickly on the man advantage. Steven Stamkos opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the season just 5:32 into the game. How he got this past Khudobin on that angle, we may never know. Seriously, his left foot was behind the goal line.
Alex Killorn continued the scoring on the power play just 3:06 later. It came on a great play and on a great pass from Teddy Purcell.
Unfortunately the Bruins came roaring back in the second and chipped in with their own power play goals. In the third, Stamkos had a chance at a short handed goal, but the shot ripped around the boards and out to center ice. That set up an odd man rush for the Bruins that led to Brad Marchand’s game winner.
Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune shared coach Guy Boucher’s thoughts after the game:
“We are on the penalty kill, our defenseman jumps into the play on the penalty kill, we are thinking offense, period. We are not thinking the right thing on that one,’’ Boucher said. “When they were going, I knew it. I screamed from the bench for our D to stay back and if the puck misses the net it goes wide around, and that’s exactly what happened. We’ve seen this how many times, it just … we can’t do that. We just can’t do that, so that’s what we get.
It’s not where we want to be and that’s why we have a long road to get to where we want to be. And until we avoid those mistakes, the Hail Marys, the zone entries when it’s a tight game at the end of a period, turnovers at the blue line, that’s what we need to learn. The young guys need to learn and the old guys need to show the way.’’
The Lightning played their best game in a while, but they still left with the loss. Losing sucks, but there is at least something to build on from here.