TAMPA, Fla. -- It appeared that things were well in hand for the Bruins entering the third period with a two-goal lead on Monday night, but it all came crashing down in them in a hurry against the NHL’s best team.
The Lightning scored three unanswered goals in the third period to take a 5-4 win over the Bruins at Amalie Arena on Monday, and dealt the Bruins their second loss in Tampa’s home barn this season where things unraveled in the final 20 minutes. This time around it was some of Boston’s young players perhaps getting a little overzealous trying to generate their own offense, and thereby taking unnecessary defensive risks in a game with a two-goal lead.
Certainly allowing odd-man rushes in the third period while holding a two-goal lead just wasn’t conducive to getting a win.
“The winning mentality is the thing that should come first, not putting pucks in the net,” said Brandon Carlo. “The good, strong defensive way [is the preference in the third period with a two goal lead] and you know the Bruins way is to be a good, strong defensive team. That’s the way I’d like to play as well, so [the Monday loss] was a really good learning experience.”
The first goal allowed was a Brandon Carlo missed shot on an odd-man rush and a misread by Charlie McAvoy on the ensuing Steve Stamkos breakaway going the other way. The second goal was McAvoy again playing too far off Nikita Kucherov on a bullet fired off the rush by the Russian sniper, and then the final goal was a total breakdown in the slot with McAvoy out of position, David Krejci not covering the slot and Anthony Cirelli left all alone to fire away.
McAvoy was on ice for all three goals against in the third period implosion and certainly needed to be better for the Black and Gold.
The bottom line was that poor decisions, bad execution and a little bit of bad luck played into the Bruins stumbling and falling to three goals allowed to Tampa Bay. Maybe they could have gotten away with some of the mistakes against the New Jersey Devils of the world, but teams like the Lightning will make the Bruins pay like they did Monday night.
“It’s something you don’t want to see, but it happened. You learn every day in this league, young and old. There were lessons learned for a few of our guys tonight,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We had a chance to put the game away [in the third period]. We're off net with our chance. You've got to hustle back & our lone D back there made a poor decision. He's got to buy time for people to recover. That [Hedman goal] gave them life, unfortunately. There was a lot of hockey after that to put them away and we just didn’t get the job done.”
The good news for the Bruins is the mistakes made in the third period can certainly be corrected, and some of it could even be chalked up to fatigue with the B’s rolling five defensemen after John Moore’s injury early in the game. But it would have been better to get the good result against a Tampa Bay team that’s going to be lurking and waiting for the Bruins down the line in the postseason.
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