TAMPA — With 16 games to play, every hockey game is critical and the Lightning and the Bruins played like two desperate teams most of the evening Tuesday when they met at Amalie Arena.
With first place in the Atlantic Division and two critical points on the line, the teams engaged in a tight checking, shot-blocking, goaltender-heavy affair that had the appearance of a playoff game rather than a contest in early March.
In the end, Bruins wing Brad Marchand's goal 10 seconds into overtime gave Boston a 1-0 victory.
Both goalies played like it was a playoff contest. Jonas Gustavsson made 42 saves for his first shutout of the season for Boston. Ben Bishop was just as good making 32 saves as Tampa Bay lost its first overtime game at home this season (7-1-2).
The Bruins and the Lightning are tied atop the division with 83 points but Tampa Bay has one more win (39) and a game in hand (the Lightning has 15 games remaining, the Bruins 14).
"That was a good hockey game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "For two teams that both played (Monday) night, it was up and down, bodies slammed all over the place, there was compete. Both goalies played extremely well.
"It was probably fitting it went down to the end the way it did. It was great to see. We got that in us. I wasn't too worried about that."
In addition to Gustavsson, Tampa Bay went 0-for-4 on the power play, including a critical one with 9:31 in the third. The Lightning got off some good shots but couldn't get past Gustavsson.
"He was perfect," Tampa Bay's Brian Boyle said. "It's tough to beat that. He had some big saves on redirects. We hit three or four posts. He covers a lot of net. You have to give him a lot of credit. He was really good for them."
After seeing its franchise-record nine-game win streak come to a screeching halt at the hands of the Flyers on Monday in Philadelphia, the Lightning was looking to avoid its first two-game losing streak since losing to St. Louis and San Jose on Feb. 14 and 16.
For that to happen, however, Tampa Bay needed to see a much better effort against Boston than in Monday's game, in which the Flyers won 4-2 and held a 40-18 shot advantage. The Lightning got that, though it didn't get the victory.
"We need to show this effort every night," Bishop said. "I don't think you should pat yourself on the back for playing the way you should play. Obviously the way we played in Philly was unacceptable. So I don't think you should pat yourself on the back for playing the way you should play.
"It was a big point obviously with both teams playing back to back," he said. "You'll like to get the two points but right now we'll take one. At least we got one."
First Period—None. Penalties—Hayes, Bos (roughing), 8:16; Boyle, TB (roughing), 8:16; Chara, Bos (high-sticking), 16:26.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Acciari, Bos (slashing), 3:36; McQuaid, Bos (hooking), 12:56.
Third Period—None. Penalties—Pastrnak, Bos (delay of game), 10:29.
Overtime—1, Boston, Marchand 34 (Bergeron, Krug), :10. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Boston 11-11-10-1—33. Tampa Bay 8-19-15-0—42. Power-play opportunities—Boston 0 of 0; Tampa Bay 0 of 4. Goalies—Boston, Gustavsson 11-5-1 (42 shots-42 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 28-17-4 (33-32). A—19,092 (19,092). T—2:26. Referees—Dean Morton, Tim Peel. Linesmen—Tim Nowak, Tony Sericolo.