Tampa, FL --The Boston Bruins fell to the Tampa Bay, 4-1, thanks to the historic efforts of the Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier and line mate Martin St. Louis.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Brad Richards and the Boston Bruins Bobby Allen (38) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday night, Dec. 1, 2007, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
"It took us a little longer than usual to get into the game," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien. "They came at us hard.
"Their goaltender made some key saves...and that third goal really hurt us."
Tim Thomas, who came into the game leading the NHL in save percentage took the pipes again for Boston as the Bruins looked to continue their road win streak and put their road tally over .500.
Unfortunately for Boston, however, Hockey Bay's superstar centerman Lecavalier made a little history when he scored at 5:45 of the first period to put the Bolts up by one -- it was Vincent's 250th NHL goal and 17th on the year.
That quick Lightning strike knocked Boston off their toes for most of the first frame, and Lecavalier's second goal of the evening (his 18th of the season, his 251st in the NHL) put the B's way back on their heels at 15:53.
The second period did not bring any relief for Thomas, who remained under heavy attack in the second frame. And although Boston continuously attempted to counterattack, Tampa Bay netminder Johan Holmqvist stopped everything that found it's way into his blue paint.
"We weren't skating and battling for pucks," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. "We were losing races and they got the early lead -- two goals in the first.
"We had some chances, but we (couldn't) score."
Boston Bruins' Glen Murray, center, celebrates with teammate Marco Sturm, right, of Germany, and Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia, after scoring during the second period an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, Dec. 1, 2007, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Despite the pair scored by Lecavalier and the persistent storm of Lightning shots, Boston's Thomas remained unbowed as the middle stanza crept on for the Bruins. And finally, as a kind of reward for the Bruins defensive efforts, at 17:47, Boston right wing Glen Murray pounded a defenseman Dennis Wideman feed past the helpless Holmqvist to make the score, 2-1, Tampa.
But the Lightning struck again.
Tampa's Mathieu Darche scored the Bolts third goal at 19:01 and sent the Bruins back to the dressing room down by two. The B's also lost Aaron Ward to a leg injury and he did not return for the third.
Fellow Quebecker Martin St. Louis played Rocket Richard to Lecavalier's Beliveau and scored the Bolts fourth goal at 6:13. That created more history for Vincent: his assist on the St. Louis goal was his 300th of his career.
"There is no question that he is the best player in the game," said Marc Savard of Lecavalier and his efforts during the contest.
"Vinny is a good player," said Julien. "He's big. He's strong and he takes pucks to the net. (Then) he stays there and he battles.
"That's why he's one of the best players in the league."
Boston's fourth line provided some spark late in the period, but the fourth Lightning strike was all Tampa needed to ensure their 4-1 victory.
"I thought our fourth line had a great game tonight," said Julien of the combination of Jeremy Reich, Vladimir Sobatka and Petteri Nokelainen, but had to admit that they were responsible for one of the Tampa goals. "But we also have to look at the effort they gave us tonight -- they were probably one of our better lines.
"They made things happen (and) they outworked the other team."
By the end of his press briefing, Julien had come to one conclusion.
"Our best players were not our best players tonight," he said.
Boston will attempt to turn things around Monday in Long Island.
1 - 0 TBL
2 - 0 TBL
2 - 1 TBL
3 - 1 TBL
Martin St. Louis
4 - 1 TBL
Interference on goalkeeper