Thursday night’s showdown between the Bruins and Lightning was everything that we all expected. And then some.
Two of the top teams in the Atlantic Division — nay, the entire NHL — trading shots through 65 minutes of hockey.
Of that 65 minutes — 44:44 of it featuring Boston and Tampa Bay stuck in either a 0-0 draw or some other form of a deadlocked score.
After a power-play tally from David Pastrnak with 3:05 left in regulation forced overtime, both clubs combined for eight shots on goal over an entertaining five minutes of extra hockey — with both Tuukka Rask and Andrei Vasilevskiy needing to bail out their respective clubs with two points still up for grabs.
Steven Stamkos’ strike in the fourth round of the shootout was the final determinant in a 4-3 victory for the Bolts, but even in defeat, Thursday night more than lived up to the billing — and provided a preview into what could be a thoroughly entertaining playoff series come the spring.
Of course, Bruce Cassidy would have rather preferred a by-the-book, ho-hum victory with two points in hand than the nail-biting showdown that transpired on the TD Garden ice.