Tampa Bay-- Center Anthony Cirelli scored the game-winning goal with 53 seconds left in the third period to help the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Boston Bruins 5-4 on Monday Night. Center Steven Stamkos scored twice & added two assists, giving him at least three points in three of his last four games, helping the Lightning to their 59th win this season, with a chance to surpass the NHL record of 62 wins, set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings.
Tampa Bay entered the game having beaten Boston in five of their last six meetings, including last year's playoffs. Meanwhile the Bruins entered the game with a four game winning streak, having scored 17 goals in their last three games.
The action in the first two minutes of the game took place mainly within the blue lines with the first shot on goal being registered by the Lightning. And less than four minutes after that first shot on goal, the Lightning got the first goal of the night when forward Ryan Callahan from just inside the blue line sent a feed to Stamkos, who was set up to the right of Rask. And the Lightning captain slammed home the feed from Callahan for his 40th goal of the year.
Less than two minutes after the goal by Stamkos, Boston was able to get on the scoreboard during the power play. With forward Nikita Kucherov in the penalty box for hooking, center Brad Marchand got a puck past Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy tying the score up at one.
After a face-off win in the offensive zone by Cirelli, the Lightning were able to control the puck & defenseman Victor Hedman found Stamkos again in what he calls his office, just to the right of Rask. And just like the set up from Callahan, Stamkos one-timed Hedman's feed for his team leading 41st goal of the year.
After taking their 2-1 lead, Tampa Bay committed two penalties, forcing them to kill off a five on three situation for nearly 90 seconds before the end of the first period.
Nearly midway through the second period, Boston was able to get the tying goal after Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev committed a turnover in his own zone coming off the boards. Bruins forward David Backes took the puck from Sergachev & pushed a pass to center Charlie Coyle, who ripped a shot high over Vasilevskiy.
Almost exactly five minutes after tying the score, the Bruins took advantage of another Lightning mistake when after a failed pinching attempt led to a Bruins odd man rush. And Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo took a drop pass & beat Vasilevskiy to give Boston their first lead of the game.
The Bruins lead became a two goal lead after a strange bounce following a shot by Marchand ended up in the air after the save by Vasilevskiy & bounced off the Lightning goalie into the net for Marchand's second goal of the night.
Trailing by two goals, it appeared Tampa Bay cut the deficit to one with less than three minutes left in the second period but a shot by forward J.T. Miller hit off both posts before bouncing away from the net. The initial call during the play by the referee was no goal & was confirmed by replay.
With just under 15 minutes left in the game, the Lightning cut the Bruins lead to one when Miller sent a pass to Stamkos which led to a breakaway attempt by the center, who flipped a backhand wide of the net. But the rebound went off the boards to Hedman, who beat two Bruins down the ice and banged home the puck into an empty net for his 12th goal of the year.
The Bruins were able to kill off a four minute double minor called on forward David Pastrnak for high sticking. But less than three minutes after the end of the penalty, the Lightning got the game tying goal from Kucherov, who ripped a shot high past Rask.
Tampa Bay had another power play opportunity after tying the score at four & officially were unsuccessful, going scoreless on five power play chances in the game. But just seconds after the power play ended & less than a minute left to play in the game, the Lightning got the game winner on a triangular passing set-up with defenseman Ryan McDonagh getting a pass to forward Mathieu Joseph, who was positioned to right of Rask. And Joseph pushed a pass to Cirelli, who beat Rask glove side for his 18th goal of the year.
Tampa Bay is off until Saturday, when they play the Washington Capitals in their last home game of the season. Coverage begins on News Radio WFLA with the pre-game at 6pm & puck drop is scheduled for 7pm.
1. TBL- Stamkos 40th Goal (Callahan, Sergachev)- 6:42
2. BOS- PPG- Marchand 33rd Goal (Bergeron, Pastrnak)- 8:30
3. TBL- Stamkos 41st Goal (Hedman, Sergachev)- 14:58
1. BOS- Coyle 12th Goal (Backes)- 8:42
2. BOS- Carlo 2nd Goal (Debrusk, Krejci)- 13:41
3. BOS- Marchand 34th Goal (Bergeron, Pastrnak)- 14:32
1. TBL- Hedman 12th Goal (Stamkos, Miller)- 5:36
2. TBL- Kucherov 38th Goal (Stamkos)- 13:15
3. TBL- Cirelli 18th Goal (Joseph, McDonagh)- 19:07
1. TBL- Kucherov (Holding 2 Min)- 7:28
2. TBL- Miller (Hooking 2 Min)- 17:45
3. TBL- Killorn (Trippong 2 Mins)- 18:32
1. BOS- Kuhlman (Holding 2 Min)- 5:05
2. BOS- Chara (Hooking 2 Min)- 9:46
1. BOS- Pastrnak (High Stick 4 Min Double Minor)- 6:45
2. BOS- McAvoy (Hooking 2 Min)- 17:02
3. BOS- Marchand (Interference 2 Min)- 19:21