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Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Boston Bruins 8-1

BOSTON — Lightning goaltender Mike Smith allowed a goal Thursday night on a puck shot 76 feet.

He also pushed a puck into the skates of defenseman Victor Hedman in front of his net, the inability to control the puck resulting in another goal.

Tampa Bay was embarrassed 8-1 by the Bruins at TD Garden, with Smith allowing five goals on 22 shots before being pulled 1:50 into the third period.

"I feel horrible," Smith said. "Letting the team down is the hardest thing as a goaltender."

As if that wasn't bad enough, Tampa Bay (14-9-3) likely lost Steve Downie to what might be a broken ankle from a second-period shot.

But the immediate story was Tampa Bay's goaltending — or lack of it, as the case may be — in its most lopsided loss since a 7-0 pasting by the Senators in January 2003.

Dan Ellis wasn't much better in relief, allowing three goals on 10 shots in what was Boston's four-goal third, though his teammates had already checked out mentally after falling behind 4-1 late in the second after Smith's mixup with Hedman.

As coach Guy Boucher said, "We lost hope. Guys are not stupid. Guys are going, but they're not really going. They're off."

The Lightning was blown out despite a 38-32 shot advantage. Don't discount Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, the league's best, who made 37 saves and allowed only Hedman's second-period goal.

Smith did not meet that challenge, especially on Dennis Seidenberg's first goal of the season with 19.7 seconds left in the first period, when Smith left the front of his net anticipating a puck around the boards.

Seidenberg shot the puck from 76 feet away, 12 feet beyond the blue line, into the unattended net for a 2-0 lead as Smith dived to get back.

"I anticipated him rimming the puck, and he held on to it an extra split second," Smith said. "By that time I was already on my way around for the rim; a tough one to swallow."

"He likes to play the puck," Seidenberg said. "He likes to make that first pass, so that is in the back of your mind."

Just as bad was Smith playing the puck behind the goal line and pushing it into the feet of Hedman at the side of the net. Shawn Thornton jammed the jostling puck into the net for a 4-1 lead with 4:46 left in the second.

"Totally my fault," Smith said. "(The puck) kind of took a funky bounce off the boards. I expected it to go behind more, but it came back out front. When a (defenseman) sees that, he's doing everything he can to get it from in front of the net. It's not on Victor at all."

The season's run has been on Tampa Bay's up-and-down goalies, who have a league-worst .878 save percentage.

Ellis said he has "no doubt, personally" he and Smith are the right goalies for the team. "But the consistency has to be there."

"These are two good guys," general manager Steve Yzerman said. "But we need them to play better. I believe they have the ability to do that."

For now, though, Smith said, it's "back to the drawing board."

Bruins 2 2 4 8
Lightning 0 1 0 1
Bruins 2 2 4 8
Lightning 0 1 0 1

First Period1, Boston, Krejci 3 (Lucic, Ference), 10:52. 2, Boston, Seidenberg 1 (Ryder), 19:40. PenaltiesStamkos, TB (slashing), 6:51; Marchand, Bos (roughing), 16:19.

Second Period3, Boston, Lucic 12 (Krejci, Horton), 6:48. 4, Tampa Bay, Hedman 2 (Malone, Bergenheim), 15:14. 5, Boston, Thornton 5 (Marchand, Thomas), 17:30. PenaltiesHedman, TB (tripping), 2:57.

Third Period6, Boston, Krejci 4, :34. 7, Boston, Ryder 7, 1:50. 8, Boston, Recchi 5 (Ryder, Chara), 7:28 (pp). 9, Boston, Wheeler 6 (Recchi), 13:55. PenaltiesKubina, TB (roughing), 7:18; Gagne, TB (roughing), 19:01. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 15-10-13—38. Boston 9-12-11—32. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 1; Boston 1 of 4. GoaliesTampa Bay, M.Smith 8-5-0 (22 shots-17 saves), Ellis (0:34 third, 10-7). Boston, Thomas 13-2-1 (38-37). A17,565 (17,565).

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Boston Bruins 8-1 12/02/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 3, 2010 5:40am]

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