Bolts’ streaks stopped as the winning ends

by Gary Shelton on March 1, 2019 · 0 comments

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Domingue played well, but finally lost a game./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 4 a.m.

Finally, there is something to worry about.

Finally, there is a threat to the splendid season of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Boston Bruins, often a burr in the side of the Lightning, tried to put a doubt into the mind of the Lightning with a 4-1 victory.

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Anthony Cirelli scored the Bolts' only goal./CHUCK MULLER

On the way:

-- The Bolts had a franchise-record 10 straight game winning streak snapped.

-- They had a 14-game points streak snapped.

-- Goaltender Louis Domingue had an 11-game winning streak snapped.

-- The penalty kill had not allowed a power play goal in seven straight games. That was snapped, too.

The Bolts seemed lethargic, plodding most of the night. Some of that may have been Boston, and some of it may have been the heavy schedule the Bolts had been playing. They had gone to overtime the night before, and to a shootout their game before that.

The Bolts had just four shots in the first period and just five in the second.

“We were probably a little overwhelmed by them," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Things started all right and then probably the second half of the first period, we weren’t skating, they were a step ahead of us. You spend so much time in your D zone, now you’re just chipping pucks out, they’re coming right back at you. They did a really good job of that. Louis was unreal for us to keep the score where it was. But the fact of the matter is the team that played the best tonight won the game, and they deserved it.”

The game was 1-0, Boston, going into the third period. Boston scored three times in 88 seconds.

“We had some looks, we had some zone time," Cooper said. "Clearly the third period, the score doesn’t show it, but that was our best period. They had that one minute, whatever it was, 28 or 29 (seconds), they get those three and put it out of reach. And maybe that was coming because Louis had made some unbelievable saves to keep it close. Ultimately, we didn’t shoot the puck when we had the chance and we didn’t put them on their heels near enough like they did to us. When that’s going to happen, the score’s probably going to end up the way it did tonight.”

Lightning captain Steven Stamkos admitted his team was tired.

“For the most part this year, we’ve done a good job on back-to-backs," Stamkos said. "Today, felt bad for Louis, He played outstanding, gave us a chance going into the third.

"We didn’t have it tonight. It felt like we were in quicksand, and they played really well. Got to give them credit. Maybe this was a little bit of something that was coming for us. We didn’t think we were playing well lately. Play a good team like this and they definitely had more of the energy and played a better game than us tonight.”

Stamkos said there are lessons to be learned.

“We’ve just got to realize you just can’t come into games and expect to win." Stamkos said. "I know we’ve had a tremendous season, but we keep reiterating the fact that we want to prepare down this last 17 games going the way that we want to into the playoffs. We’ve gone in spurts. The Rangers game the other day, we play an excellent first period then we just kind of sit back. Maybe a little blessing in disguise tonight, play a good team that plays the right way, that checks really well and you get a result like that. Maybe a little bit of a wake-up call for us.”

Domingue stopped 26 of the first 27 shots he faced before faltering in the third.

“We didn’t play a good game at all," Domingue said. "They showed up. They played a solid game. I think we can look at their game and probably take a little bit of what they did. They stepped on the gas for the full 60. The challenge for us for the rest of the way I think is to show teams that they can’t play with us. This was a big game, and they played well. Got to give them credit.”

Domingue thought the game was there to be won even in the third period.

“Definitely," Domingue said. "It’s a 1-0 game. But like I said, they kept pushing. They didn’t stop. They didn’t let their foot off the gas. They created chances in the third and they finally capitalized. It is what it is, but we were in this game regardless of how we played. Sometimes, (teammates are) there for me. Sometimes, I’m there for them. I’ve got to give credit to Boston, they showed up."

Defenseman Ryan McDonagh said the Bolts contributed to their own defeat.

"I think we hurt ourselves with our decision making," McDonagh said.  "They made us look slow, and we spent a lot of time in our own zone because of us not playing smart and making good decisions with the puck. It hasn’t been too many games where it’s been almost the whole game where we haven’t really played the way we’re capable of. We’ve had off periods here or there throughout games, but we’ve usually found a way to bounce back. You’ve got to give them credit, they played with great pace and discipline. But at the same time, I thought we could have controlled the situation a little better with our decision making with the puck.”

The Bolts are home Saturday night to play against the Ottawa Senators. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

 

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