BSJ Game Report: Lightning 5, Bruins 3 – Early deficit dooms Boston in wild bout at TD Garden

(Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 5-3 loss to the Lightning in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

Box Score


A sign of things to come: So, where do we start with this one? A raucous TD Garden crowd got a firsthand look at what could be the premier heavyweight bout this postseason on Saturday night, with the Lightning ultimately besting the Bruins by a final of 5-3. Things got off to an awful start for the B’s, who saw their win streak snapped at four games and their lead at the top of the Atlantic Division trimmed to seven points. Boston might have been gifted with a power-play opportunity just 5:01 into the game (the first two of what was 94 total penalty minutes on the night), but it was the Bolts that capitalized — with Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev beating Tuukka Rask just 1:02 apart to hand Tampa an early two-goal lead off of a dominant PK sequence. The visitors added to their lead in the second frame, with an unguarded Cedric Paquette snapping one past Rask at 6:50 to make it a 3-0 contest, but Charlie McAvoy give the B’s life eight minutes later, burying one past Andrei Vasilevskiy during 4v4 play to cut the deficit to two.

What followed was a two-minute frenzy to close out the period, in which: 

Zdeno Chara launched Sergachev’s stick into orbit:

Sean Kuraly buried a goal from the crease that was initially waved off by the officials:

Nine total penalties, including five misconducts, were handed out after Cirelli cross-checked Chara in the back, starting three separate brawls on the ice — and a slew of other kerfuffles.

A slashing penalty assessed against Brad Marchand after time expired in the second did prove to be costly, as Tampa opened the final stretch of regulation with a power-play tally from Alex Killorn at 1:08 in the third— making it a 4-2 contest.

Boston once again countered off of David Pastrnak’s 48th goal of the season at 6:37, but that was all that Bruce Cassidy’s club was able to muster — as Nikita Kucherov snuffed out any hope of a rally off of an empty-net strike with 1:02 left on the clock.