Lightning Extend Streak, Take Down Bruins

by | Mar 28, 2024

Lightning Extend Streak, Take Down Bruins

by | Mar 28, 2024

TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Lightning dismissed the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins, 3-1, at Amalie Arena on Wednesday evening with consistency and a high level of play on both ends of the ice. The Lightning picked up points in the eighth consecutive game and that gave them 15 points and they are now in fourth in the Eastern Conference.

“I think tonight was one of our more complete games,” said center Brayden Point. “Plenty of attention to detail. Boston is a great team. They’re going to get chances. We did a good job of tracking them when we did. Obviously, ‘Vasy’ got some huge saves for us, but for the most part, I liked our game.”

Tampa Bay has posted a 7-0-1 ledger in its last eight contests after using a 4-0-1 mark on their five-game road trip where they picked up wins against both Florida and Vegas.

It was an unyielding night for Lighting goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy who stopped 23-of-24 Bruins’ shots. Boston center Danton Heinen scored the Bruins’ loan goal of the evening when he tied the game at 1-1 at the 17:11 mark of the first period.

We didn’t give up much,” commented Vasilevskiy. “The guys played well. I had a few saves and I felt good about myself, a little bit. But we didn’t spend much time in our zone and it’s so easy to play when your team gives such a good effort.”

Coach Jon Cooper, center Brayden Point, forward Tanner Jeannot, and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy alluded to the Bruins’ 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday evening.  Boston fought back from a 3-2 deficit midway through the third period. Boston had to rematch the physical and mental effort against the streaking Lightning.

“Boston had a really hard-fought game last night and found a way to dig in and come back and get that win,” noted Cooper. “The message to the guys is sometimes you catch a team that might be a little tired.”

Cooper explained how the Bruins’ use of energy helped them defeat come from behind to defeat Florida.

“I thought if we could have these guys be physical right off the bat and sit there and think they were going to be in another one tonight, we could maybe take advantage,” said Cooper.

The Lightning took a 1-0 lead at the 10:06 mark of the first period when forward Mitchell Chaffee placed the puck over Boston goalie Linus Ullmark’s left shoulder for his fourth goal of the season.

Chaffee took a backhand pass from Nicholas Paul in front of the net as Paul fed Chaffee the puck which was passed ahead of Bruins forward James Van Riemsdyk, who trailed Chaffee on the transition.

It was important for the Lightning to pick up the early lead and the game’s momentum to pin the Bruins into an immediate deficit. Cooper picked the win as one of the top games of the season.

“It’s definitely up there, especially against the team we were playing,” Cooper said of the consistency and magnitude of the win. “I am not going to take anything away from what we did. I thought we played strong from the drop of the puck right until the end. Getting the lead tonight was big for us against a team that emptied the tank the night before and I thought we did.”

The Lightning broke the 1-1 tie at 6:21 in the first period when Point scored on a wrap-around goal by Point, his 42nd of the season. Nikita Kucherov retied Point for the team lead in goals as he scored for the season with  his 42nd of the season, as well, on an empty netter at 19:36 in the third.

Cooper discussed how the Lightning had started to enhance the level of play since about the middle of February.  Picking up Anthony DuClaire and Mathew Dumba before the trade deadline were excellent moves by GM Julien BriseBois.

“The timing of them coming was perfect for us,” said Cooper. “Then, our special teams have been a big deal. Our penalty kill has done really well for us. The power play is getting timely goals and we are not giving up, as we have called them all year, the ‘freebies.’”

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