TAMPA — Lightning coach Jon Cooper thought Saturday's matchup with the Bruins would be a "statement game."
But the most telling statement was how Cooper bluntly summed up a 5-0 beating handed down by the Bruins in front of 18,512 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
"The only good thing about (Saturday) was probably the national anthem," Cooper said. "After that, everything else (stunk)."
The Bruins took the lead 92 seconds in and never looked back, playing with more grit than Tampa Bay (5-3), which looked nothing like the team that had won five of its first seven games. By the end, many of the pro-Boston fans left were chanting, "Let's go, Red Sox!"
"It was embarrassing," center Steven Stamkos said. "They wanted it more."
"It was unacceptable," goalie Ben Bishop said. "That's not the way we want to play."
Bishop, who won his first five starts in impressive fashion, had a bad night, getting pulled with five minutes left in the second period after allowing four goals on 17 shots, including a Patrice Bergeron wrist shot through his legs.
It was the first time Bishop gave up more than two goals in a game this year.
But Cooper said the loss "falls nowhere near on our goaltenders." The Lightning got beat in individual matchups in the defensive zone for three of the goals, with defenseman Victor Hedman minus-5 for the game. Even captain Marty St. Louis said he had an offnight.
"From the get-go, we didn't have the grit that we need to have," St. Louis said. "It starts with me. I didn't have the grit, aggressiveness, that I need. … We were all caught watching a little bit instead of making it happen."
Cooper said if someone had told him the Lightning would hold the Bruins to 22 shots and lose 5-0, he would have laughed at them. But though the Lightning pushed back, with B.J. Crombeen, Nate Thompson and Radko Gudas getting in fights, St. Louis said they didn't win enough of the important battles.
The Lightning also didn't generate a ton of scoring chances in getting shut out by goalie Tuukka Rask. It was 0-for-3 on the power play.
"I just felt like we were the — call it "The old Tampa Bay Lightning,' " Cooper said. "The team that hasn't made the playoffs in (five of the past six years). We went back to some poor habits, which led to poor execution, which led to poor play."
Cooper tried switching goalies, yanking Bishop after he allowed two goals in 55 seconds in the second period, and shuffling lines in the third, but nothing worked.
Cooper said though he was disappointed in the game, he wasn't disappointed in his team, believing Saturday was an aberration. He better hope so. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks arrive Thursday.
"I guess it turned into a statement game," Cooper said. "Just not the way we wanted it."
First Period—1, Boston, Krejci 1 (Lucic, Iginla), 1:32. Penalties—Campbell, Bos, major (fighting), 2:02; Crombeen, TB, major (fighting), 2:02; Salo, TB (holding), 6:09; Marchand, Bos (slashing), 8:29; Seidenberg, Bos (interference), 13:26.
Second Period—2, Boston, McQuaid 1, 4:37. 3, Boston, Bergeron 2 (Smith, Eriksson), 14:52. 4, Boston, Kelly 3 (Marchand, Soderberg), 15:47. Penalties—Brewer, TB (hooking), 6:25; Marchand, Bos (slashing), 9:06; Carle, TB (holding), 10:13.
Third Period—5, Boston, Thornton 1 (Paille), :34. Penalties—Brewer, TB (holding), 5:25; McQuaid, Bos, major (fighting), 13:35; Thompson, TB, major (elbowing), 13:35; Iginla, Bos, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 14:24; Krejci, Bos (tripping), 14:24; Gudas, TB, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 14:24. Shots on Goal—Boston 10-7-5—22. Tampa Bay 9-5-9—23. Power-play opportunities—Boston 0 of 4; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—Boston, Rask 5-2-0 (23 shots-23 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 5-1-0 (17-13), Lindback (15:47 second, 5-4). A—18,512 (19,204).