TAMPA — Lightning wing Dana Tyrell is generously listed at 5 feet 11, 185 pounds. Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is 6-9, 255.
Yet, there was Tyrell in the first period Monday night, knocking Chara down during a puck battle in the Boston zone.
"That was fun," Tyrell said. "I don't think he was expecting that."
The play summed up Tampa Bay's decisive 3-1 victory at the St. Pete Times Forum, coach Guy Boucher said.
"Guys like that," he said of Tyrell, "carry the culture of the team."
Tampa Bay (12-7-2) carried it to every corner of the rink, getting three second-period goals and limiting Boston to just six scoring chances to win its fourth straight and close the gap in the Southeast on the first-place Capitals to four points.
Steven Stamkos got his league-best 20th goal and is the first Lightning player to reach the mark in 21 games. Tyrell and Teddy Purcell scored, and goaltender Mike Smith's 26 saves gave him 69 on his past 71 shots and three straight wins.
Equally impressive was how the Lightning smothered the Bruins and was patient finding cracks in the positionally sound team while building a 36-27 shot advantage.
Add Boston's problems getting pucks deep, that most of its shots came from the outside, and even the hard-to-please Boucher called it "one of our more solid (games)."
"Yeah, I think so," center Dominic Moore said. "That's a pretty structured team there, and they have tons of depth. We knew it was going to take a complete effort to beat them. I thought right from the start we were pretty darn good."
Consider Moore, from the slot and on purpose, shot a puck wide of the Bruins net so it would ricochet off the end boards to Purcell. It is a play the team has practiced, and it worked perfectly as Purcell, skating to the left of the goal, flipped the puck that was right on his stick past surprised goalie Tuukka Rask.
"If you don't have a lane to get it to the net, it's never a bad play to bank it, especially if the goalie comes out and plays it aggressively," Moore said. "I didn't expect it to work out perfectly, but Teddy was there."
As was Pavel Kubina, who led a defense that consistently got sticks on pucks, and center Nate Thompson, who helped hold Boston's top line of center David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Milan Lucic to one shot.
"From start to finish, we got our structure down pat," Tyrell said. "We had a lot of enthusiasm, and that takes us a long way."
As did one particular check.
First Period—None. Penalties—Thornton, Bos (interference), 17:55.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Tyrell 2 (R.Jones, Thompson), 3:26. 2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 20 (St. Louis, Downie), 5:15. 3, Tampa Bay, Purcell 4 (Moore, Malone), 11:36. Penalties—Seidenberg, Bos (cross-checking), :47.
Third Period—4, Boston, Ryder 6 (Wheeler, Caron), 10:38. Penalties—Downie, TB (hooking), 1:28; Boston bench, served by Thornton (too many men), 4:20; Tampa Bay bench, served by Downie (too many men), 7:36. Shots on Goal—Boston 7-8-12—27. Tampa Bay 11-20-5—36. Power-play opportunities—Boston 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—Boston, Rask 1-5-1 (36 shots-33 saves). Tampa Bay, M.Smith 7-3-0 (27-26). A—16,241 (19,758). T—2:16.