In the wake of the Bruins’ impressive 2-1 win over the Lightning on Tuesday night, here are four additional stats that stood out beyond some encouraging performances from David Krejci’s new linemates.
0.16 - Tampa Bay’s expected goals rate (all strengths) in third period
The first 40 minutes of Tuesday’s Atlantic-Division showdown primarily featured the visitors putting the Bolts on the ropes — with Boston holding on to a 2-1 lead and a commanding 31-14 edge in shots on goal entering the second intermission.
As to be expected, Jon Cooper’s club did what it could to generate a response over the final period of regulation — with Boston primarily treading water in its own zone as the minutes ticked off the scoreboard.
As far as the puck-possession metrics go, things weren’t all that pretty for Bruce Cassidy’s club — with the Lightning holding a commanding 22-7 edge in shot attempts during the third period.
However, for as bad the optics looked as Boston spent many shifts hemmed back in its own end — the Bruins’ top-ranked defense still managed to prevent many of those attempts from getting through to Tuukka Rask and the Grade-A areas of the ice.
Aside from a breakaway bid from Anthony Cirelli midway through the frame, the Lightning were primarily held to the outside by a conservative, but stingy Bruins’ defense — with plenty of point shots from Tampa either sailing wide or ricocheting off a skater before they could reach Rask.
For all disparity when it came to shot attempts, only seven of Tampa’s 22 bids generated a shot on goal, with the Lightning’s expected goals rate of 0.16 a testament to the lack of quality looks the Bolts were able put together in crunch time.
(For Reference: Expected goals accounts for both shot quantity and quality by factoring in multiple shot factors, including the type of shot, distance from the net, angle, 5v5, power play, penalty kill, etc. As such, a player or team with a low expected goal rate means that they aren’t generating good looks when out on the ice.)
“Good sticks, structure was good,” Cassidy said. “Willing to block shots. We kind of stopped moving our feet on the breakout. They did a better job with their D keeping pucks alive, hemming us in. When we did flip a few out, we weren't able to get the forecheck going. We talked about that, they're a good team, a good offensive team. They're going to have a push. Ideally, do you want to spend that much time in your own end? No. But I understand why, you're managing the puck and they're at home.
“They're going to have their push, they happened to have it then. It would have been good if we could have made a couple more plays, but you don’t want to do that at the expense of giving them a good opportunity. So probably a little too conservative, but we know how to defend.”
13-2-1 - Boston’s record in games started by Jeremy Lauzon this season
One of the reasons for Boston’s lockdown efforts down the stretch on Tuesday? The continued strong play of 22-year-old Jeremy Lauzon — who seems to have just about shored up that third D pairing next to Matt Grzelcyk.