Boston, MA- Jon Cooper’s Tampa Bay Lightning entered Thursday night’s matchup with Boston on a franchise record ten-game winning streak. They also entered exhausted after playing the night before and going to overtime each of the last two games. Their exhaustion showed in their third game in four nights as they ran into a buzzsaw called the Boston Bruins.
Boston entirely dominated the first period. They won the shots 17-4 and pounded backup Lightning goalie Louis Domingue. Fortunately, he was on and kept Tampa afloat. Boston benefited from David Backes winning a fight with Adam Erne to lift the crowd’s vibe, but not enough to break the ice.
Bruin dominance continued in the second. They won the shots Tampa’s only power play was stifled and produced no shots. Boston’s ensuing man-advantage clicked and figured out Domingue. Jake DeBrusk did the honors with a wrister from the left circle for his 21st tally this season.
Despite the shot counter reading 32-9 at second intermission, Tampa only trailed 1-0. “Louie was unreal for us to keep the score where it was,” observed Jon Cooper. “We were about as positive as you could be with the shots being against us after two, knowing it was a one-goal game,” commented Ryan McDonough.
That spark did not come. Instead, Boston’s offense blew the roof off TD Garden. First, Noel Acciari punched in a Chris Wagner rebound for his third of the season. Forty-five seconds later, Patrice Bergeron threaded a shot through for his 22nd. Brad Marchand ended the 1:28 long explosion with a breakaway goal for his 26th and a frustrated Domingue who threw and broke his stick against the boards.
Anthony Cirelli did quiet the building slightly by tipping an Ondrei Palat shot for his 13th tally to break the shutout, but Tampa ran out of gas. Boston emerged with a 4-1 win to end Tampa’s record winning streak.
Boston improves to 38-17-9, good for 85 points. They conclude February with an 11-0-2 record on the month.
The Bruins begin March by hosting the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, March 2nd. Puck drops at 7 pm ET at TD Garden.
“This was a big game and you have to give them credit,” said Louie Domingue, who stopped 41 of 45 shots faced, a season-high for the 26-year-old from St-Hyacinthe, Quebec.
He remained confident after the game. “We’re still the best team in the League. It doesn’t matter what happened tonight. Unless someone can prove me wrong, we’re still Number one in the League. We just gotta keep playing that way. We can’t take other teams lightly, we really have to show teams they can’t hang with us.”
Tampa drops to 49-12-4. The Lightning end February 12-1-2 for the month.
This was only the second matchup between the Atlantic Division’s top two teams this year. They’ll play two more times the remainder of the regular season. Once in Tampa on March 25th and once in Boston on April 6th.
The Bolts start a four-game homestand against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, March 2nd. Puck drops at Amalie Arena at 7 pm ET.