Stamkos Scores Number 20 in Loss
Lightning Fall to Bruins, 3-1
It’s a difficult task to go up against a playoff-bound team with 106 points on the season, but the mountain becomes steeper when your special teams are struggling, and the power play and penalty kill were the difference tonight, as the Lightning dropped a decision to the Boston Bruins, 3-1.
Boston’s power play connected twice in six opportunities while the Bolts were shutout in five chances, including a first period 1:26 five-on-three, during which the Lightning only managed one shot on net.
On the positive side, Lightning rookie Steven Stamkos
collected his 20th goal of the season, making him the first Tampa Bay rookie to hit that milestone since Brad Richards in 2000-2001.
Blake Wheeler opened the scoring for the Bruins at 14:03 of the first period when he found an opening between Lightning goaltender Mike McKenna and the left post and put the puck through it. Wheeler’s goal, his 20th of the season, assisted by Marc Savard, stood as the only score in period one. The Lightning headed off the ice with only four shots on the Bruin’s net, compared to 10 shots on goal for Boston.
Evengy Artyukhin was in the penalty box for high sticking at 6:31 of the second period when the Bruins opened up a 2-0 lead, thanks to a back-door goal by defenseman Zdeno Chara, 25 seconds into the extra-man opportunity. Chara snuck down the slot and stationed himself to McKenna’s left, and once Patrice Bergeron found him with a cross-ice pass, Chara found the back of the net for his 17th goal of the season.
The Bruins opened a formidable three goal lead later in the period, just 19 seconds after Tampa Bay defenseman Richard Petiot was called for hooking. The power play goal at 13:35 by Chuck Kobasew, his 20th of the season, was tipped in front of McKenna and propelled over his right shoulder and into the twine.
Despite having nothing on the scoreboard to show for the effort, the Lightning outshot the Bruins in period two by a margin of 14 to 13.
Boston netminder Manny Fernandez last faced Tampa Bay on February 22nd when he allowed four goals on only 18 shots while losing, 4-3. Fernandez atoned for that performance tonight, carrying a shutout into the final period.
He finished his night’s work with 24 saves, but the shutout eluded him when Stamkos picked up a loose puck in front of the crease and lifted it over Fernandez to cut the Bruin’s lead to 3-1 with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. Ryan Malone
and Matt Lashoff assisted on the goal. Stamkos will now set his sights on the Tampa Bay rookie goal mark of 21, set by Richards eight seasons ago.
The goal by Stamkos was all the Bolts could muster, however, and they finished the night with 25 shots on net, led by Martin St. Louis
with four, and 21 hits, paced by Petiot’s game-high five.
The road ahead doesn’t get any smoother for the Lightning as they travel to New Jersey on Friday night to face the Devils, currently third in the Eastern Conference with 98 points. They will then match-up with the New York Islanders on Saturday before returning home to the St. Pete Times Forum for their final two home games of the season.
|Three star selections