BSJ Game Report: Lightning 3, Bruins 2 – Boston relinquishes top seed after another slow start

(Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Everything you need to know from the Bruins’ 3-2 loss to the Lightning in quickie form, with BSJ insight and analysis:

Box Score


Another slow start dooms Bruins from retaining top seed: In this upended playoff format, yes, the value of seeding — especially in terms of home-ice advantage — has largely been negated. 

But still, the optics that Boston — the lone NHL club to crack the 100-point threshold during the regular season — will no longer sit atop the leaderboard in the Eastern Conference is still a pretty discouraging sight.

Once again, the Bruins were unable to secure a point in round-robin action on Wednesday evening, as a slow start doomed Boston in what was ultimately a 3-2 loss to the Lightning at Scotiabank Arena. With the loss, the Bruins sit dead last in the round-robin standings with zero points through two outings, while Tampa Bay sits in first with four points.

Whereas Boston started out strong but gradually faded down the stretch in Sunday's loss to the Flyers, Wednesday was largely the opposite, with Bruce Cassidy's club sleepwalking through the opening 11 minutes of regulation — during which Tampa jumped ahead with a two-goal lead.

Both tallies were mostly self-inflicted, with a defensive breakdown allowing Brayden Point to knock home a rebound on a 3-on-2 rush into Boston's zone. Less than three minutes later, a too-many-men penalty against Boston allowed the Bolts to double their lead, with Victor Hedman's shot bouncing off of Alex Killorn's skates and past Tuukka Rask just 13 seconds into the man advantage.

Yes, to Boston's credit, they responded as the contest went on, with both Charlie McAvoy and Chris Wagner lighting the lamp in the second and third periods — with the mood of the contest shifting more and more toward a playoff bout as the minutes ticked away.

But Boston, in desperate need of at least a point in the standings by way of an overtime result, would come up short — as a poor line change and defensive miscue allowed Tyler Johnson to bury a second-chance puck past Rask at 18:33 in the final period of play.

Now, Boston — once the top dog in the East — is going to have to do a lot of scoreboard watching in the next few days, as a Washington victory on Thursday against the Flyers would just about lock the B's into the No. 4 seed going into the first official round of playoff action.