BOSTON — The Bruins came out on the losing end Sunday night in a battle of Atlantic Division playoff hopefuls, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 at TD Garden.
Ryan Callahan scored twice and added an assist to pace the Lightning, and Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each contributed a goal and an assist. Kevan Miller provided the lone goal for Boston.
The win pushed the Lightning to within two points of the division-leading Florida Panthers. The Bruins, meanwhile, sit in third place, two points behind Tampa Bay and one ahead of the fourth-place Detroit Red Wings.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Brad Marchand hauled down Stamkos in front of the Bruins net after a Joe Morrow turnover, giving the Lightning’s leading scorer a penalty shot. Stamkos converted to put Tampa Bay ahead 4-1 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the second period.
It was Stamkos’ sixth goal in as many games and his 28th of the season, and the Bruins had no answer, failing to crack Lightning goalie Ben Bishop the rest of the way.
MILLER GETS IT STARTED
The Bruins’ fourth line and third defensive pairing combined to produce the game’s first goal.
Joonas Kemppainen won an offensive-zone draw and fed the puck to Miller, who blasted a shot from the blue line past Bishop.
The defenseman has two goals in his last five games after managing just one in his previous 32.
TAMPA TAKES ADVANTAGE
Trailing 1-0 at the midway point of the first period, the Lightning proceeded to get hot in a hurry, scoring four goals during the 20 minutes that followed.
The first came after Bruins winger Zac Rinaldo, who earlier in the day was placed on waivers, was penalized for an illegal check to the head after leveling Cedric Paquette in the corner.
Paquette exited down the tunnel toward the Lightning dressing room, and Rinaldo took a seat in the penalty box. Tampa Bay capitalized almost immediately, getting a goal from Killorn 32 seconds into the ensuing power play to tie the score.
The visitors jumped ahead less than three minutes later on a play Adam McQuaid surely would like to take back.
The Bruins defenseman wiped out with the puck on his stick at the blue line, springing Callahan and Killorn on a 2-on-0 rush the other way. Callahan finished the job, firing a shot past Tuukka Rask for his ninth goal of the season.
Another Callahan goal — this one of the power-play variety — at the 8:18 mark of the second made it 3-1 Bolts. Stamkos potted his penalty-shot tally less than two minutes later.
J.T. Brown nearly added another second-period goal for the Lightning but rang iron on a breakaway attempt. Tampa Bay took a 4-1 lead into the third.
Loui Eriksson finished with two shot on goals in what might have been his final game in a Bruins uniform. The winger is set to hit free agency this summer, and with he and the Bruins so far unable to come to terms on a contract extension, he’s a prime candidate to be moved before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.
Eriksson, Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci combined for zero points and just seven shots on goal in the loss.
Lightning center Tyler Johnson went down in a bloody heap late in the third period after a clearing attempt by Miller struck him directly in the face. He was helped off the ice and did not return.
Former Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton returns to Boston for the first time Tuesday night as the B’s host the Calgary Flames.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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