BOSTON — The Lightning didn’t look ready. It looked tired and worn down.
The speedy Lightning, which usually dictates games, couldn’t keep up with the Bruins in a 4-1 loss Thursday that ended its franchise-record winning streak at 10 games.
“It felt like we were in quicksand, and (the Bruins) played really well,” Steven Stamkos said.
Ryan McDonagh believed the Lightning’s decision making made the team look even slower than it was playing. He said not playing smart got Tampa Bay stuck in its game for long stretches.
That describes most, if not all, of the first period.
The Lightning (49-12-4) played the vast majority of the first 20 minutes in front of goalie Louis Domingue. The Bruins put 17 shots on net and took 29 total shot attempts. Tampa Bay did help Domingue out some with eight blocked shots in the period, but he had to make save after save.
In that first period, the Lightning put four shots on goal and took only 12 shot attempts. It just didn’t give itself a chance to create any kind of opportunities because it couldn’t get out of its zone.
Domingue did everything you could ask of a goalie, turning away all 17 of Boston’s shots.
In the second period, the Bruins outshot the Lightning 15-5 and took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Jake DeBrusk.
Domingue played 50 minutes of great hockey before giving up three goals in 88 seconds in the third period that made the final score match the lopsidedness of the game.
After the third of those goals, a breakaway by Brad Marchand, Domingue snapped his stick in frustration.
Before that Boston spurt, the Lightning was one good play away from tying the score at 1. Even going into the third period, when the Lightning didn’t have much to show for itself, it still believed it had a chance to win.
“(Domingue) was incredible,” McDonagh said. “He’s been incredible the whole season. For sure, (Thursday) was a prime example of us leaving a goalie out to dry on many occasions. He gave us multiple chances to come back.”
None of the usual sparks came through for the Lightning. The power play came up empty on three chances. Instead of the power play being a boost for Tampa Bay, each of those kills turned into another positive for Boston.
The Lightning hadn’t looked that bad maybe since a 7-1 loss to the Coyotes on Oct. 27. On one hand, that loss came against a worse team, which makes it look like a worse loss. But it was also early in the season and against an opponent the Lightning is unlikely to meet in the playoffs.
Boston is the opposite. The Lightning and Bruins know each other well, playing tight games in the regular season and playoffs. That means Tampa Bay has more chances to redeem itself, but also that this loss has definite sting.
Recently, when the Lightning was down in a game, it found ways to get to overtime.
“It hasn’t been too many games where it’s been almost the whole game where we haven’t played the way we were capable of,” McDonagh said. “We’ve had off periods here and there, but we’ve found ways to bounce back.”
First Period—None. Penalties—Erne, TB, Major (fighting), 2:54 Backes, BOS, Major (fighting), 2:54.
Second Period—1, Boston, DeBrusk 21 (Krug, Rask), 8:43 (pp). Penalties—Chara, BOS, (cross checking), 4:54 Hedman, TB, (interference), 8:11.
Third Period—2, Boston, Acciari 3 (Wagner), 11:47. 3, Boston, Bergeron 22 (Acciari, Heinen), 12:32. 4, Boston, Marchand 26 (Krug, Heinen), 13:15. 5, Tampa Bay, Cirelli 13 (Palat), 13:52. Penalties—Hedman, TB, (tripping), 9:29 Hedman, TB, (hooking), 14:30 McAvoy, BOS, (hooking), 15:54 Grzelcyk, BOS, (cross checking), 17:59 Kucherov, TB, Misconduct (misconduct), 20:00.
Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 4-5-12_21. Boston 17-15-9_41.Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 0 of 3 Boston 1 of 3.Goalies—Tampa Bay, Domingue 19-5-0 (41 shots-37 saves). Boston, Rask 21-8-5 (21-20).
A—17,565 (17,565). Referees—Marc Joannette, Steve Kozari. Linesmen—Scott Driscoll, Kiel Murchison.