TAMPA, Fla – The Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins are both struggling as of late, and were looking for a spark to get them back on track. On Tuesday night, it did not take long for the Lightning to strike, 1:56 into the first period to be exact on a tip-in off Tom Pyatt’s foot. The goal was originally waved off by referee Frederick L’Ecuyer, but was later overturned as it was determined there was no distinct kicking motion.
Nate Thompson extended the lead just 30 seconds after the goal by Pyatt. What appeared to be a harmless play developed into a scramble in front, after goaltender Marty Turco was unable to grab ahold of the puck. Adam Hall was able to center the puck to Thompson who buried it into the yawning net.
Turco allowed a third goal at the 4:31 mark when Ryan Shannon surged into the zone on a breakaway deking and sliding to the back of the net.
Tim Thomas replaced Turco after the Shannon goal, but did not fair much better. Combined, Turco and Thomas allowed six goals on 17 shots.
“We can’t blame it on our goalies. They’ve had our backs so many times this season, and it’s one of those games when we had to have their backs and we didn’t do that,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “It was a tough game for all of us.”
Steven Stamkos reached the 50-goal milestone with two on the night. History repeated itself from the 2009-10 season where Stamkos also had a two goal night to get to 50.
“It was definitely in the back of my mind. It was nice last time I did it to get to 49 and 50 in one game,” said Stamkos, “That was definitely running through my mind.”
Stamkos became just the sixth player in NHL history to score 50 goals twice prior to his 23rd birthday. Among the elite include Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy, Mario Lemieux, Joe Nieuwendyk and Alexander Ovechkin.
“Getting 50 goals is something special,” Stamkos said. “It’s a magic number in hockey, and it’s so special to do it in front of your home fans with a big win. That makes the memory last even longer and better. It’s a great feeling and something that no one can ever take away from me.”
A stellar performance by goaltender Dustin Tokarski who stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced and recorded his first NHL career point with an assist.
“That’s pretty cool,” Tokarski said. “That’s really neat. I didn’t even know I had a point until after the game. I got a point before my first win? That’s pretty crazy, eh?”
Tokarski expressed his feelings after getting his first NHL victory. “It feels awesome,” Tokarski said. “It’s really exciting. I’m at a loss for words right now, but it’s huge. A dream come true.”
The Bruins lone goal came off a tip in front by Jordan Caron 1:55 into the third period. Caron who has six points in the past five games has been providing help to his team that is suffering from the injury bug.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien spoke after the game regarding their recent play. “We can talk about being a little bit snake-bitten, but to me, that’s a coward excuse,” coach Claude Julien said. “I believe that you make your own breaks. I don’t want to start making excuses. We need to find ways to win hockey games. Finding excuses is a coward thing and it makes your team weak.”
Tampa Bay’s push for the playoffs continues as does their seven game homestand on Thursday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tampa Bay Lightning announced Tuesday they have signed 2011 first round pick (27th overall) Vladislov Namestnikov to a three-year entry level contract.
Captain Vincent Lecavalier is hoping to make his return to the lineup late next week. Lecavalier currently has 992 games played in the National Hockey League and could play his 1000th game during the road trip that wraps up the 2011-12 season.