The Boston Bruins ended a memorable regular season with a whimper at TD Garden.
Despite skating to a 2-0 first-period lead, the Bruins eventually fell 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. David Krejci, Danton Heinen and Matt Grzelcyk all scored for the Bruins, while the Lightning got contributions from stars Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, among others.
Tuukka Rask, in particular, will want to forget this game. The Bruins netminder stopped just 16 of 21 shots, allowing multiple ugly goals in what was far from an ideal postseason tuneup.
The Bruins fell to 49-24-9 with the loss, while the Lightning climbed to 62-16-4 with the win.
Here’s how it all went down:
BRUINS DOMINATE IN FIRST
Someone forgot to tell the Bruins that this game didn’t matter.
Boston came out with more energy than Tampa, out-shooting its opponent and entering the locker room with a 2-0 lead. Charlie McAvoy originally was credited with the first goal, but further review showed it was Krejci who swatted the puck past Eddie Pasquale. Heinen scored the second goal with 20 seconds left in the frame.
Take a look at both tallies:
The Lightning certainly had their chances, but overall, it was a very impressive first period for Boston.
TAMPA FLIPS SCRIPT
As good as the Bruins were in Period 1, they were equally as bad in the second frame.
The Lightning looked like, well, the Lightning, out-shooting Boston 11-6 and scoring three unanswered goals. The most concerning of the goals came at the 12:52 mark, when Stamkos broke out and scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game. Anthony Cirelli scored a few minutes later to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 advantage.
Take a look at all three goals:
Stamkos’ goal was the 15th shorthanded tally the Bruins have allowed in the season. That’s the most the franchise has given up since the 1991-92 season. The team “record” is 18.
The Lightning entered the locker room with the edge in shots, hits and face-off wins.
LIGHTNING HOLD ON IN CHIPPY THIRD
Just 53 seconds into the third period, Kucherov potted a back-breaker.
The superstar Russian winger split Zdeno Chara and McAvoy with relative ease, eventually sliding the puck past Rask to give the Lightning a 4-2 lead. It was the 41st goal of the season for Kucherov, as well as his 127th point.
Take a look:
Grzelcyk gave the Bruins life with just under six minutes remaining, firing a shot past Pasquale to bring Boston within one goal. But Braydon Coburn scored just seconds later on one of the ugliest, most deflating goals Rask has allowed all season. Tyler Johnson later scored an empty-netter for the Lightning to account for the final score.
The game devolved into a chippy affair over the final 10 minutes, as the Bruins sought to avenge multiple dirty hits by the Lightning. Nobody was hurt, however, and Tampa eventually coasted to its 62nd victory, tied for the most in a single season in NHL history.
The Bruins will return to the ice Thursday when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series. No time has been set.
This Bruins Wrap is presented by Plainridge Park Casino.