TAMPA — Even with Tyler Johnson off to a slow start this season, coach Jon Cooper preached patience with the former All-Star center.
"You've just got to weather the storm," Cooper said. "When you're working hard, usually it bodes well. You're going to come out of it."
Johnson broke through in a big way Thursday, scoring two goals in sparking a Lightning comeback in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Bruins. Tampa Bay, down 2-0 and 3-1, forced overtime on a Johnson deflection midway through the third. But Boston won in a 10-round shootout, Jimmy Hayes getting the deciding goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was otherwise stellar.
The most encouraging development, however, was Johnson matching his goal total from the first 10 games.
"It's nice to get some breaks here," he said. "It's one of those things, sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. Hopefully I can carry that over, have some confidence."
Cooper said the first game after a long road trip is always a challenge, and the Bruins jumped on Tampa Bay (6-4-1), which was coming off a six-game, 12-day trip. The Lightning continued it's "troublesome" trend, as Cooper calls it, falling behind early. Tampa Bay was down 2-0 after the first period, giving up the first goal for the seventh time inn 11 games.
"They always say good teams find a way to win," Johnson said. "We found some ways this year, but you don't want to have to rely on that. As the season goes on, teams are going to be tougher to beat. Being down two goals later in the year is pretty insurmountable."
The resurgent Lightning power play enabled this comeback, Victor Hedman pulling Tampa Bay within one at 2-1 with five minutes left in the first. Tampa Bay has five power-play goals in its past three games after racking up four in the previous seven. "Special teams is a big reason why we're above .500," Cooper said.
The Bruins then got some puck luck early in the second, David Pastrnak credited with a goal on a deflected centering pass from Patrice Bergeron. The Lightning cut into the Bruins' lead with another power-play goal, this one by Johnson nine minutes into the second. For Johnson, who has had a quieter-than-expected start to the season, it was his third goal of the season, second on the power play.
The goal reviews weren't on the Lightning's side. A challenge of Pastrnak's goal was ruled "inconclusive." Ondrej Palat had a second-period goal waved off; it was ruled he kicked it in. But Johnson tied it at 3 midway through the third, reaching to get his stick on a Braydon Coburn point shot, a goal that survived a review.
"He's a great player," said Brayden Point, the only Lightning player to score in the shootout. "And he showed it (Thursday)."
|Bruins win shootout 2-1|
First—1, Boston, Carlo 2 (Bergeron), 4:01. 2, Boston, Spooner 2 (Krug, Krejci), 10:47 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Hedman 2 (Filppula, Kucherov), 15:09 (pp). Penalties—Brown, TB, (high sticking), 7:17; Brown, TB, (high sticking), 7:17; Mcquaid, BOS, (high sticking), 14:07.
Second—4, Boston, Pastrnak 6 (Bergeron, Marchand), 4:38. 5, Tampa Bay, Johnson 3 (Stamkos, Stralman), 8:30 (pp). Penalties—Moore, BOS, (holding), 6:32; Killorn, TB, (slashing), 12:55; Acciari, BOS, (tripping), 15:52.
Third—6, Tampa Bay, Johnson 4 (Coburn, Koekkoek), 10:04. Penalties—None.
OT—None. Penalties—Krejci, BOS, (hooking), 15:28; Palat, TB, (holding), 19:21. Shootout—Boston 2 (Marchand NG, Pastrnak NG, Nash G, Bergeron NG, Krejci NG, Krug NG, Moore NG, Czarnik NG, Hayes G), Tampa Bay 1 (Filppula NG, Kucherov NG, Stamkos NG, Point G, Palat NG, Killorn NG, Callahan NG, Namestnikov NG). Shots on Goal—Boston 13-9-6-3—31. Tampa Bay 11-9-8-2—30. Power-play opportunities—Boston 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 2 of 4. Goalies—Boston, Rask 6-0-0 (30 shots-27 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 2-1-1 (31-28). A—19,092 (19,204). Referees—Jake Brenk, Dan O'Halloran. Linesmen—Scott Driscoll, Brad Kovachik.