The Bruins are coming off their third straight loss, as they fell to the Senators 3-2 on Tuesday. With the Islanders and Lightning lurking right behind them in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture, the Bruins are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the third seed in the Atlantic Division. Every game matters from this point on, and if Boston wants to avoid missing the playoffs for the third consecutive season, they would have to start by finding a way to beat the Lightning.
Both teams committed a penalty at 1:55 of the opening period, where Anton Stralman was called for tripping Brad Marchand, and Marchand was called for holding Stralman. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4.
Later in the period, Boston and Tampa Bay each had a power play opportunity, but neither found a way to capitalize.
After 20 minutes, the game was scoreless. The Bruins had nine shots, and goaltender Tuukka Rask made 10 saves.
At 1:33 of the middle period, the Bruins found the scoreboard first as David Pastrnak put it in on a power play after passes from Ryan Spooner and Patrice Bergeron to give them the 1-0 lead.
Just 44 seconds later, Tampa Bay came right back when Brayden Point scored from Ondrej Palat and Jake Dotchin to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bruins got the lead back at 7:50 of the second when Zdeno Chara scored a shorthanded goal from Riley Nash and Dominic Moore to make it 2-1.
Only 24 seconds later, the Lightning tied it again when Nikita Kucherov scored on a power play from Jonathan Drouin and Victor Hedman to bring the score to 2-2.
Boston claimed a one-goal lead for the third time when Nash scored at 13:18 of the second period after feeds from Moore and Kevan Miller to make it 3-2.
The Bruins defense was unable to hold their ground once again as Tampa Bay's Stralman scored at 14:53 of the period from Palat and Brayden Point to tie the game for the third time at 3-3.
At the second intermission, the game was tied with three goals a piece. The Bruins were up to 23 shots, and Rask had made 18 saves.
Tampa Bay got its first lead of the game at 4:12 of the final period when Drouin scored from Alex Killorn and Dotchin to make it 4-3.
The Lightning wouldn't surrender their one-goal lead as Kucherov scored for the second time in the game at 10:11 of the third after passes from Victor Hedman and Drouin to increase their lead to 5-3.
With 1:57 remaining in the game, Kucherov would score again to make it a hat trick after an assist from Palat to put it out of reach for the Bruins at 6-3.
The Bruins couldn't muster any offense in the third period, and they finished with 31 shots, while Rask made 23 saves.
Boston has dropped four consecutive games and are now 12-7 under Coach Bruce Cassidy. Things have to change quickly if the Bruins want to make a push for the playoffs, as they are just two points ahead of the Islanders for the last wild card spot. The Bruins travel to Brooklyn for their next time out on Saturday at 7 p.m. est.