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Sunday, March 9, 2014

For Whatever Reason, The Bruins Owned the Lightning This Season

The Lightning are a good team or so I've been told: they are 10 games over .500 and Ben Bishop is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. With that said, Tampa Bay (34-24-6) couldn't figure out a way to beat Boston (41-17-5) in the 2013-14 regular season. The B's rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 4-3 shootout victory tonight at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Reilly Smith won it in the seventh round with the only goal of the entire shootout.

We'll give pity points to Tampa Bay for at least putting up a fight this time, the other games were 3-1, 5-0 and 3-0 so this was something to be more proud of. Still, what is the deal? This was the perfect time to get two points against the B's. The Lightning opened up a 2-0 lead in the second period thanks to goals by Ondrej Palat and Mark Barberio (something that doesn't happen every day) but then they proceeded to immediately cough it up.

Daniel Paille cut it to 2-1 at 6:58 on his ninth goal of the season. Gregory Campbell and Johnny Boychuk assisted on Paille's no-look backhander that squirted through Bishop's five-hole (29 saves). Chris Kelly sprung Carl Soderberg on a breakaway and the Swede calmly put a backhander of his own between Bishop's legs at 8:29 for his 11th goal of the season.

Tampa Bay seemed to bounce back as Valtteri Filppula was wide open in front of Tuukka Rask (17 saves) and was able to put it top shelf at 9:31. Both teams settled down from the frenetic pace but the Bruins were able to tie it at 8:11 of the third period on Johnny Boychuk's blast from the point. Soderberg and Loui Eriksson assisted on his third goal of the season.

Boston started off poorly but later in the contest they hit the post on three separate occasions and also had a goal wrongfully disallowed so them pulling it out felt like cosmic justice of some sort or another.

The Bruins have a back-to-back as they travel to face the Panthers (24-32-7) tomorrow (5, NESN) at the BB&T Center. Expect Chad Johnson to get another start vs. Florida as Boston tries to sweep them as well (5-0).

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