Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Boston Bruins

TAMPA — Much will be made, and rightly so, about the Lightning's egregious defensive breakdowns in Thursday night's 3-1 loss to the Bruins at the St. Pete Times Forum.

In the end, though, the comatose offense was much more to blame.

Consider the Lightning for the 12th time scored fewer than three goals. Only twice has it scored more than three. No shock, then, the team is tied with the Senators for fewest goals in the league, and Ottawa has two fewer games.

"We're just not scoring," left wing Vinny Prospal said, "and it's costing us games."

Making it worse was that Tampa Bay (6-11-8 and on a 0-4-2 streak) played pretty well against the Northeast-leading Bruins, who are riding a 12-1-1 surge.

For only the second time, the Lightning faced fewer than 30 shots, outshooting Boston 31-26. It took a 1-0 lead 1:21 in on Marty St. Louis' sixth goal, helped by Vinny Lecavalier's franchise-record 340th assist.

But as Lecavalier said, "We just couldn't get that second goal."

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas had something to do with it, outdueling Tampa Bay's Mike Smith with 30 saves. But the Lightning couldn't finish, either. Steve Downie is still probably shaking his head over not getting the puck past a diving Thomas 27 seconds into the second period. It meant little margin for error against the No. 1 team in the East.

"We had no margin for error," coach Rick Tocchet said. "It's like we have to play so perfect, and in this league you can't play perfect to win."

Because there is this:

Defenseman Steve Eminger's poor clearing attempt was intercepted. Lecavalier and Paul Ranger missed defensive assignments, and Phil Kessel scored with 7:39 left in the second period for a 1-1 tie.

David Krejci scored short-handed 8:17 into the third after Mark Recchi's offensive zone pass was intercepted and Ranger, who was minus-3, took himself out of the play by leaving his feet trying to disrupt the breakaway.

Kessel's empty-netter was window dressing.

"If you're scoring five or six goals, maybe those mistakes don't look as big in the whole picture, but right now they're costing us wins," Smith said.

What is the solution to the mass drought?

"You're looking for character guys right now," Tocchet said. "It's easy to go hide. I'm looking for the guys to get back on the front lines, practice tomorrow, get out there, shoot some pucks and pay attention in practice."

And perhaps take a lesson from the Bruins, who, as Thomas said, "stuck with our game plan. … You don't want to change your game. You just want to kind of let it come to you, and that's what we did."

To an extent, Tampa Bay did not.

"When things are snowballing, you lose confidence; you start not trusting your system," Tocchet said. "If you watch guys, they'll do something out of character. They'll leave the zone when they shouldn't. They won't dump the puck because they're trying an extra move.

"That's what we're tying to say: Stick with what we're telling you. It's going to get better, but if you try to do the individual stuff, it just prolongs the slump."

The bottom line?

"We have to roll up our sleeves and keep going," Tocchet said. "We've got to try and find some scoring somehow."

Bruins 0 1 2 3
Lightning 1 0 0 1
Bruins 0 1 2 3
Lightning 1 0 0 1

First Period—1, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 6 (Lecavalier, Malone), 1:21. PenaltiesNokelainen, Bos (holding), 2:23; Malik, TB (holding), 7:51; Kobasew, Bos (hooking), 14:37.

Second Period2, Boston, Kessel 14 (Savard, Lucic), 12:21. PenaltiesNone.

Third Period3, Boston, Krejci 8 (Wheeler), 8:17 (sh). 4, Boston, Kessel 15 (Savard, Hunwick), 19:59 (en). PenaltiesHnidy, Bos (holding), 6:31. Shots on GoalBoston 9-8-9—26. Tampa Bay 9-13-9—31. Power-play opportunitiesBoston 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. GoaliesBoston, Thomas 10-3-3 (31 shots-30 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith 5-7-7 (25-23). A15,598 (19,758).

Tampa Bay Lightning loses to Boston Bruins 12/04/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 5, 2008 3:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.