Steven Stamkos scored the game-winning overtime goal 91 seconds after the extra frame began to hold off a comeback and give the Tampa Bay Lightning a, 3-2, overtime win over the Boston Bruins Saturday night at TD Garden.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (12-4-3, 2.13 goals-against average, .927 save percentage in 19 games played) made 37 saves on 39 shots against in the overtime win for the Lightning.
Bruins netminder, Jeremy Swayman (7-4-1, 2.27 goals-against average, .918 save percentage in 12 games played) stopped 22 out of 25 shots faced in the overtime loss.
Boston fell to 12-8-1 (25 points) on the season and remain in command of 5th place in the Atlantic Division– two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Meanwhile, Tampa improved to 14-5-4 (32 points) overall and in command of 3rd place in the Atlantic– five points behind their intrastate rival, Florida Panthers, for the division lead.
Prior to Saturday night, the B’s and Bolts hadn’t met in the regular season since March 7, 2020, due to the ongoing pandemic that temporarily realigned the league’s divisions last season.
In their last meeting, which was also at TD Garden, the Lightning won, 5-3, as Boston cemented a 1-2-1 season series record against the Bolts in 2019-20.
Anton Blidh (upper body) remained out of the lineup on Saturday night as Charlie McAvoy (non-COVID related illness) and Jakub Zboril (lower body) joined Blidh among the sick and injured while head coach, Bruce Cassidy, remains in the National Hockey League’s COVID-19 protocol.
Zboril is set to be re-evaluated on Sunday for an injury that he sustained in Thursday night’s, 2-0, shutout in Nashville.
As a result of McAvoy’s game-time decision status, Jack Ahcan and Oskar Steen were recalled from the Providence Bruins (AHL), who had enough players cleared to be called up or assigned in the aftermath of a COVID outbreak among Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate.
Acting head coach, Joe Sacco, made two minor changes to his lineup– inserting Ahcan alongside Derek Forbort on the blue line in place of McAvoy and placing Connor Clifton back on the third pairing with Mike Reilly with Zboril out.
Steen served as Boston’s only healhty scratch on Saturday with Brad Marchand (suspension) serving the final game of his three-game suspension for slew-footing Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Nov. 28th’s, 3-2, win against the Vancouver Canucks.
Nick Foligno hooked Erik Cernak 32 seconds into the first period, yielding the night’s first power play opportunity to the Lightning as a result.
Tampa wasn’t able to convert on the ensuing skater advantage, however, as the Bruins made the kill.
Midway through the opening frame, Bolts defender, Zach Bogosian, caught B’s forward, Craig Smith, with a high stick and cut a rut to the penalty box as a result at 13:19.
Boston couldn’t beat Vasilevskiy and the Lightning’s penalty killing unit on the resulting advantage and even gave up their second shorthanded goal against this season less than a minute after Bogosian set a foot in the sin bin.
Taylor Raddysh received a pass into the attacking zone from Mikhail Sergachev and promptly deked through Reilly by slipping the puck under the Bruins defender’s stick before pulling the rubber biscuit to his backhand and wrapping it tightly around Swayman’s outstretched right leg.
Raddysh (1) scored his first career NHL goal and put Tampa on the board first, 1-0, at 14:13 with his shorthanded goal, while Sergachev (10) recorded the only assist on the tally.
Entering the first intermission, the Lightning led, 1-0, on the scoreboard despite trailing, 12-6, in shots on net.
Boston also held the advantage in hits (11-8) and faceoff win percentage (61-39), while the Bolts led in blocked shots (7-2) and giveaways (5-1).
Both teams had three takeaways each and went 0/1 on the power play heading into the middle frame.
After ringing the post three times, the Bruins fell victim to the most common play in hockey– the one rush the other way that goes in.
Anthony Cirelli sent a pass up to Ondrej Palat as the Bolts entered the attacking zone, leading to a great chance for Palat to make a play across the slot for a teammate to one-time the puck.
Instead, Palat (6) faked a shot and sent a pass that deflected off of Tomáš Nosek and into the twine as Swayman couldn’t react to Nosek’s unintentional own goal.
Cirelli (8) and Victor Hedman (18) tallied the assists as the Lightning took a, 2-0, lead at 3:36 of the second period.
Late in the middle frame, Erik Haula snagged a rebound from the slot and made a backhand pass through his legs to Charlie Coyle (7) for the one-timer goal while crashing the net– cutting Tampa’s lead in half in the process.
Haula (4) and Smith (4) were credited with the assists on Coyle’s goal and the Bruins trailed, 2-1, at 16:30.
A couple of minutes later, Matt Grzelcyk was sent to the box for hooking at 18:25, but the Lightning weren’t able to convert on the ensuing power play that carried into the final frame of regulation.
Entering the second intermission, Tampa led, 2-1, on the scoreboard, despite Boston controlling the advantage in shots on net, 28-13, including a, 16-7, advantage in the second period alone.
The Lightning dominated in blocked shots (13-6), as well as giveaways (10-4), while the Bruins led in takeaways (7-6), hits (24-20) and faceoff win% (63-37).
Tampa was 0/2 and Boston was 0/1 on the power play heading into the third period.
Curtis Lazar (1) tied the game, 2-2, at 4:44 of the third period on a backhand shot that he elevated over Vasilevskiy’s glove as the Bruins surged in momentum.
Brandon Carlo (2) and Grzelcyk (4) notched the assists on Lazar’s first goal of the season, but neither team was able to score thereafter– necessitating the use of an overtime period.
There were also no penalties called in the third period, meaning that Boston finished the night 0/1 on the power play, while Tampa went 0/2 on the skater advantage.
The Bruins completed 60 minutes of action leading in shots on goal, 38-21, including a, 10-8, advantage in the third period alone.
The B’s also led in takeaways (9-8), hits (33-31) and faceoff win% (59-41) after regulation, while the Lightning led in blocked shots (18-10) and giveaways (12-6).
Entering overtime, the Bruins had yet to win or lose a game this season in the extra frame, while the Lightning were 3-2 in overtime alone in 2021-22.
Bolts head coach, Jon Cooper, started Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Alex Killorn and Hedman, while Sacco countered with Coyle, Taylor Hall and Reilly.
The two teams traded chances at both ends before a dramatic shift led to a timely save by Swayman that promptly rebounded out through the slot to David Pastrnak for a clear exit from his own zone all the way into Boston’s attacking zone on a breakaway.
Only Sergachev trailed Pastrnak and the Lightning defender was gaining ground.
As Pastrnak barely got a shot attempt off and wide, Sergachev got enough to tie up the Bruins forward– after which, the Bolts blue liner sent a pass up-ice to Stamkos for a breakaway opportunity heading in the other direction.
Luckily for Boston, Reilly was the only skater within range to get back and defend.
Unfortunately for Boston, Stamkos approached Swayman on a 2-on-1 with Palat by his side.
Instead of lobbing a pass for a one-timer, Stamkos (12) wound up and fired an old-fashioned slap shot past Swayman’s short side to win the game, 3-2, at 1:31 of the overtime period.
Sergachev (11) had the only assist on the goal.
Tampa finished the night with the win on the scoreboard and a, 4-1, advantage in shots on goal in overtime alone, despite trailing Boston, 39-25, overall in total shots on net.
The Lightning exited TD Garden with the advantage in blocked shots (19-11) and giveaways (13-7), while the Bruins finished Saturday night’s action leading in hits (33-31) and faceoff win% (58-42).
The Bolts improved to 4-2 in overtime this season, while the B’s fell to 0-1.
Boston also fell to 4-4-1 (3-2-1 at home) when allowing the game’s first goal, 2-3-1 (2-1-1 at home) when trailing after the first period and 2-5-1 (2-2-1 at home) when trailing after two periods this season as a result of the overtime loss.
Tampa, meanwhile, improved to 9-1-3 (3-0-2 on the road) when scoring first, 9-1-2 (2-0-2 on the road) when leading after one and 8-1-3 (2-0-2 on the road) when leading after the second period in 2021-22.
The Bruins hit the road for a three-game road trip through Western Canada next week, starting on Wednesday (Dec. 8th) in Vancouver before playing the following night in Edmonton with a day off next Friday before visiting the Calgary Flames next Saturday.
Boston returns home to host the Vegas Golden Knights on Dec. 14th before another three-game road trip thereafter.