After a difficult loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night to kick off the Lightning’s seven game home stand, and with there hopes of a run to the post season on life support, the Lightning needed to come up with a big effort against the team that ended their season a year ago, at least in the first period. In the second and third, there were times when the Bruins carried the level of play, and even after a 6-0 lead in shots, the shot total shifted to towards the Bruins.
The highlight of the night though, was Steven Stamkos checking in with his 49th and 50th goals of the season. With his 2nd 50 goal season before his 23rd birthday, he joins elite company, with only six other players in that class.
For the Lightning, it was a huge win to keep them alive in the postseason race, even if the chances of overcoming the the seven point deficit they face are still daunting.
The Good: The start. The Lightning have not had a better start to a game than they had in this one. Before the first commercial break, they had a 3-0 lead, and out shot the Bruins 6-0 in that span. To make matters even better for the Lightning, the third goal, by Ryan Shannon, came with the man advantage, something the Lightning have struggled with all season long.
Steven Stamkos: Stamkos hit 50 goals on the year for the second time of his young career. He has carried this team offensively over the course of the season. There is not much more one can say to describe what he has meant to the Lightning over his short career.
“It was definitely in the back of my mind,” Stamkos said of getting both goals against the Bruins. “It was nice the last time I did it to get 49 and 50 in one game; that was definitely running through my mind after I got the first one. It was nice. I was praying that the puck would bounce over that guy’s stick on the one Marty [St. Louis] gave me that I should have scored on–it was a great play. It was definitely special having Marty get the assist on that one. He’s helped me me become the player I am since day one, so to share that moment with him and Teddy [Purcell] getting in on the 49th–those guys have been huge for me and its a special win.”
Dustin Tokarski: Tokarski picked up his first NHL win, and at the same time, registered his first NHL point, a secondary assist on the Ryan Shannon goal. Tokarski had to be good in the second and third periods, as he came under fire at times, with the Lightning getting out shot 32-7.
“I am sure it does [mean more],” Tokarski said of the win against Boston. “But for me, its just a win. A wins a win, to get the first one feels great. A huge win for the standings–I don’t know what the other teams did today–hopefully we moved up.”
Secondary scoring: All of the Lightnings first four goals came from what you would call the unusual suspects, with Tom Pyatt, Nate Thompson, Ryan Shannon, and Victor Hedman all finding the back of the net. Combined, those players have 25 goals on the season. It was a refreshing change from relying on the top scorers to carry you offensively.
The Bad: The Shot Totals in the final two periods: When a team wins a game by five goals, perhaps coming up with any negative is nitpicking, but the Lightning were out shot badly in the final two frames. When you get out shot 32-7 over the final two periods of play, it is most likely not going to end well for you.
Up next: The home stand continues on Thursday when the Lightning get a visit from the Toronto Maple Leafs.