After months of playing what amounted to playoff hockey and forcing their way into contention, it finally happened. The Tampa Bay Lightning were a slow and tired team. The Boston Bruins shutout the Lightning last night 4-0 and clinched a playoff berth, all but eliminating the Bolts from the postseason.
The Lightning would need to win out and the Senators or Maple Leafs would have to lose all of their final three games.
Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was the Lightning’s star player, stopping 35 of Boston’s 38 shots.
The scoreless first period was an example of tight checking playoff hockey dominated by the goalies. Already playing shorthanded due to Gabriel Dumont attending to his wife and the birth of their second child, the Bolts lost Victor Hedman for a few shifts after getting a puck to the mouth and Jake Dotchin, who was speared in the groin by Brad Marchand earning him a five minute major, a game misconduct and most likely a suspension.
The Bolts had 4:51 of the Marchand penalty remaining starting the second period.
Shots for the period were 9-4 in favor of the Bruins who also dominated in the faceoff circle, winning 10 of 14 draws.
The ensuing power play was an absolute nightmare for the Lightning who were able to muster a measly two shots and not win a single faceoff during the major penalty.
The Bruins came to life after the kill and at 5:56 of the second, Drew Stafford beat Andrei Vasilevskiy on a rebound that went in and out of Vasilevskiy’s glove. Stafford’s seventh of the season was assisted by David Krejci (30) and Adam McQuaid (8). Prior to the goal, the Bruin’s reeled off 11 straight shots on goal.
The wild second period saw the Bruins continue to dominate play and Andrei Vasilevskiy continue to play brilliantly despite the two goals he gave up.
Pastrnak scored an empty netter, his 34th, to end all Lightning hopes of coming back.
Shots on goal ended 38-28 in favor of the Bruins who also won 70% of the faceoffs. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron won all 17 of his faceoffs.
“We’ve got to win out.” – Jake Dotchin
“We’re not out of it yet.” – Victor Hedman
“I’ll let the league handle that.” – Jake Dotchin when asked if Brad Marchand should be suspended for his spear.
“I don’t think he needs to play that way,. His goals + points and the way he plays, That’s good enough.” – Anton Stralman on the Brad Marchand spear.
“Tonight we got beat by a better team.” – Coach Jon Cooper
Tampa Bay will travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs on Thursday at 7:30 PM..