A strong effort, including a fast start, wasn’t enough to propel the Tampa Bay Lightning past the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon.
Tampa Bay got out to an early 2-0 lead on a pair of power-play goals by Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn, but in the end, fell to the Bruins 3-2 at TD Garden in Boston.
Mathieu Garon made 24 saves for the Lightning, which lost for the fourth straight game.
Boston, meanwhile, extended its win streak to a season-high six games to pull ahead, at least temporarily, of the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Northeast Division. Montreal plays Pittsburgh later on Saturday night.
“They’re a tough team, so we came out with a real good start, but we knew they would push back because they’re a very physical group,” Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie said of the Bruins.
Brad Marchand snapped a 2-2 tie with just 2:16 remaining in regulation while on a four-minute power play, finishing off a 2-on-1 odd-man rush with Patrice Bergeron to score what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The tally came after Boston perhaps caught a lucky break when Lightning defenseman Brendan Mikkelson was sent off for high-sticking as he tried to slow down Milan Lucic, who was fighting for position as he drove towards the net. Mikkelson, though, came up high with his blade and inadvertently struck Lucic in the face, resulting in the penalty.
Overall on the afternoon, Boston went 2-for-5 on the power play, while Tampa Bay was 2-for-8. The teams combined for all but one goal in the game coming with the man advantage.
Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley also scored for the Bruins, while goaltender Anton Khudobin turned aside 20 of 22 shots in the win.
Stamkos opened the scoring just 5:32 into the game while on the power play, as he released a quick shot from a sharp angle that beat Khudobin to make it 1-0.
Killorn then made it 2-0 just 3:06 later, as he took a feed from Teddy Purcell, skated in with speed, and put a nifty backhand move on Khudobin, scoring while also on the man advantage nearly halfway through the opening frame.
“The way we’ve been playing lately, it was nice to get ahead early, especially on a pair of power-play goals,” Killorn said.
Stamkos’ goal gives him a league-leading 15 on the year, while he also extended the league’s longest active points streak to nine games on Saturday.
Tampa Bay’s lead though, didn’t last too long.
Boston scored twice in a span of 1:17 to pull even 2-2 just five minutes into the middle period.
With Eric Brewer off for interference, Seguin cut the deficit in half with a shot underneath the crossbar while on the power play.
Peverley tied it soon after, as he was left all alone near the net to beat Garon and tie the game at 4:39 with his third of the year.
Tampa Bay also received a four-minute power play of its own towards the end of the second period, but couldn’t capitalize.