BOSTON — The Lightning will not practice today, and given the situation, that is like a reward.
"The guys," coach Guy Boucher said, "are giving everything they've got."
But games such as Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the Bruins at TD Garden are a reminder that for a team depleted by injuries and trades, and with seven players in the lineup who this season have played in the AHL, that is not nearly enough.
You can get by for a while; the team's three-game winning streak entering Tuesday was proof of that. But against the Stanley Cup champions in the second game of a back-to-back, well, that is another story.
"We're trying our best and that's all you can ask," center Steven Stamkos said. "When you look at what we have right now, everyone is giving their all. There's no quit on this team."
Stamkos scored twice for a league-best 55 goals, and goaltender Dwayne Roloson played a fourth straight strong game with 33 saves on 37 shots as Boston also scored an empty-netter.
"Roli," wing Marty St. Louis said, "kept us in the game."
But Tampa Bay (35-34-7) simply has no ability right now to push back when an opponent gains momentum. That means lots of defensive zone time and lots of scoring chances against.
Boston was relentless, too. Its 38-18 shot advantage put the Lightning's deficit the past five games at 187-107, including 43-11 in the past three second periods.
That means little chance to win unless the goalie is flawless, and that is an unfair standard.
"You can paint a picture whatever way you want it," Roloson said.
Roloson was so good in carrying the team to wins in his three previous games, Boucher changed his mind about giving Sebastien Caron his first Lightning start.
With Roloson's good work, Tampa Bay was down only 2-1 after the second period despite being outshot 23-8. And when Stamkos scored with a one-timer on the power play 5:46 into the third, it was 2-2 and the center was a post shot away from giving the Lightning the lead.
But just 31 seconds after Bruins goalie Tim Thomas made a great glove save on Teddy Purcell, a defensive lapse led to Benoit Pouliot's winner with 8:26 left in the third period, though Roloson argued he was hooked out of position by Brian Rolston.
Another lapse led to Brad Marchand's goal with 4:10 left on a shot Roloson probably believes he should have had.
So, Tampa Bay was not flawless.
"We fight the way we can fight," Boucher said. "A day of rest (today) and continue fighting."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 54 (St. Louis), 5:03. 2, Boston, Thornton 5 (Chara), 10:54. Penalties—Wyman, TB (holding stick), 6:11; Aulie, TB (tripping), 14:52.
Second Period—3, Boston, Seidenberg 4 (Chara, Krejci), 15:05. Penalties—Marchand, Bos (cross-checking), 4:43; Aulie, TB (roughing), 13:16; Campbell, Bos (roughing), 13:16; Commodore, TB (tripping), 15:21; Seguin, Bos (tripping), 19:57.
Third Period—4, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 55 (Hedman, St. Louis), 5:46 (pp). 5, Boston, Pouliot 14 (Rolston, Chara), 11:34. 6, Boston, Marchand 26 (P.Bergeron, Seguin), 15:50. 7, Boston, Peverley 10 (Krejci), 19:53 (en). Penalties—Wallace, TB (tripping), 2:59; Boychuk, Bos (tripping), 5:23; Seguin, Bos (high-sticking), 9:07; Lee, TB (delay of game), 16:01. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 5-3-10—18. Boston 11-12-15—38. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 4; Boston 0 of 5. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Roloson 11-15-2 (37 shots-33 saves). Boston, Thomas 33-19-0 (18-16). A—17,565 (17,565). T—2:28.